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 of 'disappeared' struggle to memorialize loved ones
Where can the 'desaparecidos' mourners grieve?Victims' families gather to make their own tribute
- November 2, 2012
"We don't know if he's dead or alive," said Erlinda Malicdem, wife of Jimmy, an urban poor leader who went missing in 1987.
Malicdem, now 54, her three children and five grandchildren, went today with other families to light candles at the "Memorial for Desaparecidos" outside the Redemptorist Church in Manila.
They have been doing this every year during Undas, the Filipino observance of All Saints' and All Souls' days, since the memorial was erected in 1994.
The names of missing people are written on the memorial wall, which was unveiled on the ninth anniversary of the disappearance of Redemptorist priest Rudy Romano, a human rights activist who was allegedly abducted by military agents in 1985.
The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), an organization of families, friends and colleagues of the disappeared, has documented 1,838 cases of disappearances in the country since 1971.
Most of the cases happened during the 20-year rule of formerÂ dictator Ferdinand Marcos from the 1970s to the late 1980s.
Wilma Tizon, deputy secretary-general of FIND, said the memorialâ€™s sculpture of a mother carrying a torch and a child holding the picture of his father symbolizes "the courage of those left behind to continue the struggle for justice" and the hope that the families will be reunited with their missing loved ones.
FIND hopes that the government will soon pass a law that will make enforced disappearances a crime. A proposed measure already passed in Congress and is awaiting the signature of President Benigno Aquino.
"We hope he will sign it soon," said Malicdem. "We donâ€™t want more families to experience the pain that we suffered," she said.
The maximum penalty for offenders would be life imprisonment. Victims of enforced disappearance and their kin would also be entitledÂ to compensation, restitution and rehabilitation.
Families call for action on disappeared
Filipinos go online for Day of the Dead