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
Flood victims receive relief aid
Church distributes cooking oil, rice, bedding to villagers with smashed homesThe wife of Wang Zhixiao stands in front of her flood-ravaged home
- ucanews.com reporters, Fufueng and Quxian
- September 27, 2011
Father John Ren Dahai, secretary general of Hebei Jinde Charities Foundation, said staff visited victims on September 25.
Some elderly villagers told the Church workers that floodwaters submerged the second floor of their homes and they had no strength to clear up the mess after floodwaters receded.
They had a plentiful harvest earlier this month, but all sweetcorn and rice in their granaries have rotted or sprouted after being soaked in floodwater.
Church-run charitable organizations in mainland China have reacted swiftly after severe rainstorms and floods hit poor rural villages in Shaanxi and Sichuan in the past two weeks.
The Catholic Social Service Center (CSSC) of Xiâ€™an diocese in Shaanxi sent its staff to visit Fufeng county on September 23. Accompanied by the parish priest and a local official, they visited and comforted affected villagers.
In Fufeng, about 100 km west of Xiâ€™an city, dozens of rural poor families said they despaired of their livelihoods after their houses collapsed.
The CSSC offered allowances of 3,000 and 5,000 yuan (US$469-781) to two poorer families whose houses totally collapsed. â€śWe are unable to rebuild houses for them but the small sum of money is an expression of the Churchâ€™s spirit of charity,â€ť said a CSSC worker surnamed Tong.
Wang Zhixiao, 73, one of the two beneficiaries, said he is grateful to the Churchâ€™s charitable act as the relief workers came here to inspect the condition quickly and gave him help.
As the local government has provided food, quilts and other emergency aid to the victims, the CSSC will assess their needs and make further plans such as rebuilding schools and houses.
In Sichuanâ€™s Quxian county, workers of Jinde Charities said they will deliver cooking oil, rice and quilts worth 110,000 yuan to 420 families, or two-thirds of households in Liduba village, once the relief aid arrives in a couple of days.
The storms have abated but electricity and clean water are yet to be restored in the village, Father Ren said.
Severe floods strike southwest