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
Kobe churches offer break to Fukushima residents
A respite from fear for Fukushima familiesOsaka Auxiliary Bishop Goro Matsuura displays a cicada he found on the seashore
- ucanews.com correspondent, Tokyo
- August 17, 2012
So this month, 11 churches in the Kobe area invited people from Fukushima for a summer visit. The attendees were mainly mothers and children, for whom opportunities to play outside have been greatly reduced since to the nuclear accident in Fukushima last year.
From August 2-5, the deanery offered a summer camp for youths and adults.
Some 23 youths from two churches in Fukushima City played along the seashore and enjoyed games with 75 elementary and middle school children from the Kobe area.
Meanwhile, 10 mothers of the children and two nuns were also offered a chance to leave the stresses of their lives behind and visit the city of Kobe.
The idea for this project struck the dean of the Kobe Vicariate when he visited Fukushima last autumn and heard the women talking about taking their children somewhere they could play outside without worrying about radiation.
The program was made possible by a variety of organizations, including Caritas Japan, religious orders and Catholic schools.
Many Catholics in Kobe who lived through the Great Hanshin Earthquake wanted to do something to help the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake last spring.
âMy own house partially collapsed in the earthquake 17 years ago. Even though my lifelines were cut, I still had to raise a child who had been born only 10 days before. Thatâs why I wished I could go up and spend a year or so helping those in the Tohoku disaster area personally; but I couldnât take the time off work, so it never happened,â said Kazuyoshi Kakoi, a parishioner at Kitasuma Church.
Naoto Hashimoto of the Kobe Chuo Church was 16 at the time of the Kobe quake. âAt the time, I needed help from all the other people. So I constantly felt the desire to go and do something for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.â
One of the highlights of the childrenâs track of the program was swimming in the ocean, something that has been impossible for children in Fukushima for over a year. Auxiliary Bishop Goro Matsuura of Osaka joined the children in their games.
âI was truly happy watching the children playing so energetically in the outdoors and in the sea,â said Junko Sato, one of the mothers from Fukushima. âI was finally able to step back and think objectively about Fukushima and about myselfâhow the invisible radiation had made me unnecessarily nervous, and how I had been living with a fear I couldnât fathom.â