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
Peace talks must 'plug the gaps'
Monitors say missing links key to ending Philippine insurgencyMurad Ebrahim (center), chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, is escorted by rebel fighters at a guerilla camp in Sultan Kudarat
- February 10, 2011
âWe genuinely believe the peace talks will finally bear fruit,â the International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao and the Mindanao Solidarity Network said in a statement.
We are âvery firmâ in our belief that the talks can only succeed âif they bear in mind the lessons of the past and seriously address the gapsâ that led to the demise of the agreement on ancestral domains, the statement said.
The 13-year-old peace process between the government and the Moro rebels resumed in Kuala Lumpur this week after it stalled in August 2008 following a Philippine Supreme Court ruling declaring a deal on ancestral domains unconstitutional.
âThe peace panels cannot simply resume negotiations and revert to the old way of doing things, so to speak,â the groups said, adding that the peace process is now at a âcrucial stage.â
They provided four âimmediate recommendationsâ that would address the gaps and bring âclosureâ to the conflict in the southern Philippines.
One is the âestablishment of a clear-cut, sustained mechanism for continuing consultation... across all sectors, genders, tribes and regions,â they said.
They also recommended âa mechanism that will keep the public, especially grassroots communities, regularly informed on the status and progress of the negotiations.â
Both sides were also urged to address rido cases -- feuds characterized by sporadic outbursts of retaliatory violence between families and communities.
They also called for the appointment of a âfull time chairâ for the ceasefire committee and to provide âadequate logistical supportâ to the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities.
Talks with Philippine Muslim rebels optimistic
Civilian groups to form âpeace constituencyâ