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
'New' university aims to stand out
Awarded university status last year, Catholic institution offers good valueStudents of Colombo Aquinas University College on parade in Colombo
- ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- April 1, 2011
Tens of thousands of qualified students miss out on a place in government universities each year, forcing many parents to try sending their children to foreign universities such as in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand or expensive private ones at home.
Here they also have to overcome visa applications and, in some cases, contend with fraudulent agents or even universities.
But many seem unaware of an educational institution at home which not only offers degree courses at relatively low cost but also has plenty of places available.
Aquinas University College is the only Catholic educational establishment in Sri Lanka offering degree courses and has been doing so since 2005, when the University Grants Commission recognized it as a degree conferring institution. Last year the government awarded it university status, allowing it to give out its own degrees.
To attract more students, more than 4,000 staff and students from Aquinas College took to the streets of Colombo recently in a carnival parade full of color and noise to put the institution on the map.
There has been a significant increase in admissions at the college as the message reaches others, said Father Placidus De Silva, the rector of Aquinas College.
âWe donât advertise but weÂ can accommodate more students,â he said.
"We offer various degree and diploma programs in English, such as engineering, marketing, business management, information technology. All are available at reduced rates," he added.
To study for a UK engineering degree in Sri Lanka it would cost about US$24,500. Aquinas' three-year course is only US$3,500, he said.
He said the parade was to boost student morale and to send a message that more students are need.
Many students at the parade said Aquinas College gave them an educational lifeline when all else seemed hopeless
âAquinas was there for us when all other university gates were closed to us,ââ said Jane Arthi, 20. Â She is now studying at Aquinasâ engineering faculty.
Shehan Ramanayake,22, and his two friends studying hospital management, said: â We are ambassadors ofÂ our college rallying support and declaring our loyalty Â to it.â