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
People pray to ward off impending food crisis
Traditional Sri Lankan harvest festival a somber affair after floods ravage cropsParishioners from St Lucia’s Cathedral cook ’pongal’ during the harvest festival
- ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- January 17, 2011
Floods in Sri Lanka have affected nearly one million people in the northern, central and eastern provinces and destroyed over 400,000 acres of rice paddies and 250,000 acres of other crops.
In the worst hit areas the annual ‚ÄúThai Pongal‚ÄĚ (boiling rice) thanksgiving festival was cancelled.
However, in non-affected areas, thousands of Catholics and Hindus celebrated the harvest festival on Jan. 15 and prayed for protection from likely famine and price hikes in the coming months.
In Colombo, hundreds of parishioners, priests and religious cooked traditional Pongal (sweet rice) at St. Lucia‚Äôs Cathedral and then joined together in a traditional Tamil Mass.
‚ÄúThe floods are a sign from God,‚ÄĚ Father Sebastiampillai Anthony Mariathas from the major seminary in Kandy, said during the festival in Colombo.
‚ÄúThis time we need to pray to protect us from going hungry as a food crisis could become a reality very soon,‚ÄĚ he said.
The priest said the floods were a result of man‚Äôs destruction of nature.
‚ÄúNature punishes you if you go against it. Every action has as opposite re-action,‚ÄĚ he warned.
‚ÄúLet‚Äôs act together before it is too late. The harvest festival is also a time of group reflection where the past is re-examined critically, re-assessed pragmatically and future plans renewed optimistically,‚ÄĚ Father Mariathas said.
Sri Lanka faces the loss of 15 ‚Äď 20 percent of her food harvest due to the flooding, according to government experts.
Caritas volunteers assist flood victims
Church center celebrates harvest festival despite cyclone devastation