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
Lawyer and vegetable seller win Asian 'Nobel Prize'
Two women awarded for their courage and generosity
- ucanews.com reporter, Bangkok
- July 26, 2012
Also honored were scientists from Cambodia and the Philippines who have helped transform yields for poor farmers, Yang Saing Koma and Romulo Davide, an Indonesian natural-resources advocacy leader Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto and Kulandei Francis, a philanthropist who started a womenâ€™s self-help group in rural India.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan was recognized for â€śher uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the peopleâ€™s right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life.â€ť
The 44-year-old judge, who has won a string of awards and was a TIME magazine environmental hero in 2009, famously took on the shipbreaking industry in Chittagong for breaching environmental and health rules.
â€śMy job is ... to give the message to the people that the law and lawyers donâ€™t always exist for the mightiest,â€ť she said after the award was announced.
A former student of the elite Viqarunnisa Noon School in Dhaka, Hasanâ€™s upbringing contrasts sharply with that of Taiwanese winner Chen Shu-chu, a grocery vendor who came from a poor family and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to help children trapped in poverty.
Having witnessed the death of her mother and younger brother at a young age, Chen turned anti-social but she says her anger melted away when she turned to Buddhism and then started selling vegetables aged 13 to help generate income for her family.
After running her small vegetable stall in Taitung County for nearly half a century, she donated a quarter of a million US dollars from her meager profits to build a childrenâ€™s library - among other projects - at a school she herself attended.
During her long yet humble career she has regularly repeated the same motto: â€śMoney serves its purpose only when it is used for those who need it.â€ť