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
Play time just got more fun
Kindergarten in radiation-hit city moves indoorsSayuri Kindergartenâs new indoor area features a giant sandbox
- ucanews.com correspondent, Tokyo
- October 22, 2012
Since then, time allowed for children from Sayuri to play outside has been strictly limited, so this month the kindergarten opened a new indoor playground and held a ceremony to mark its completion.
The disaster in March, 2011, forced Sayuri to close completely for a time. Strenuous efforts to decontaminate the area of radioactivity following the leak, including the removal of the topsoil from the school grounds, allowed it to reopen in September.
Many families fled the city to avoid radiation poisoning and the number of students dropped accordingly, but the kindergarten staff were anxious to try and keep the school open for those who were still in the area.
The new indoor playground occupies a space created by tearing down walls and joining three classrooms into one. One of the main features is a large sandbox for children to play in. The funding required for the playground came in part from assistance provided by Caritas Japan.
The playground is surrounded by wide, bright windows and a skylight, intended to give the children the feeling that they are playing outdoors, says Father Raymond Latour, the Dominican priest who serves as principal at Sayuri.
âWhen we saw the kids come into this place and get totally absorbed in their games, we were all moved. This really is exactly what they needed. I am so thankful to Caritas Japan. For so long after the disaster, there was nothing but sadness, but now we get to celebrate something good, which makes me very happy.â
The playground is also open to the public several times a week, so other children in the area can come and play, too.
âThis kindergarten has existed for over 60 years now. I think itâs great that [the new playground] can benefit the whole neighborhood,â says Fr. Latour.
âThere is a degree of uncertainty right now, so what will happen to the kindergarten in the future isnât clear. But no matter what, I want to give these kids a good environment. It would be even better if their parents get some comfort too.
âItâs too early to say [to those who fled], âEverything is just fine, so come on back [to Minamisoma].â Even if everyone came back today, thereâd still be reason to worry. So right now, weâre just working to help the children who are here.â
Still, one child who had left the city did return Â recently, bringing the number of children now at Sayuri to 21.