Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Families gain income and confidence
Loan scheme gets would-be farmers off the groundPeasants of Haoli village sign contract to borrow micro credit funds
- ucanews.com reporter, Xiâan
- September 13, 2011
The scheme has been in practice since 2005 and its organizers are pleased to record that all loans so far have been repaid. This year it took a major step forward by putting its operation on a more formal footing and one of its first beneficiaries is a group of 16 families from the village ofÂ Haoli. They have been allocated 71,500 yuan (US$11,200) which they plan to use to farm livestock and grow vegetables.
Father Stephen Chen Ruixue, the centerâs director, explained how the scheme works. âA project management group is formed by the villagers who then receive applications from families for loans, which they consider. They also verify the applicantsâ situation,â he said.
âAfter signing a contract, the eligible families are given the funds in a lump sum payment. They have to promise to pay off the debt by installments.â
Min Yongping, an elderly man who has been helped by the project, said: âI was hesitant at first, but then I found the Church center helped us to not only increase our income but also regain confidence through making a living.â
The scheme is available to all local people regardless of their faith and, in fact, the vast majority of Haoliâs 126 families are non-Catholic. They too appreciate how helpful the scheme has been.
âThe village is inaccessible as it lies in the remote Qinling mountains,â said one of them, âand there is seldom any work for people to go out to. The Churchâs scheme has solved a lot of financial problems by enabling the surplus labor force to develop a livelihood through husbandry.â
Despite its isolation, the Qinling mountains region is rich in plant-life, with many rare and even unique species. Taking advantage of this, workers at the Catholic Social Service Center have also invited an agriculture professor to instruct local families on the organic farming of walnut trees, which can provide a highly lucrative crop.
China gets first Catholic foundation
Chinese wives help the weakest for Lent
Catholic farmers worry as drought hits northern China