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
Population shift means more lonely old people
Elderly left on their own as families move to citiesMaria Liu and her great-grandson
- ucanews.com reporter, Guangzhou
- February 16, 2012
Her misery is shared in full by her daughter, Teresa.
âChinese people have the concept of raising children to bring them security in old age,â said Teresa.Â âSadly, we donât earn enough to bring my mother to live with us in the city.â
âAt least she feels less lonely since she got a telephone installed, as we call her several times a week.â
China has 167 million people aged over 60 and about half of them are âempty-nestersâ who live on their own. Â According to Liu Hong, head of civil affairs in Guangdong province, that figure is constantly rising.
âThere are 10.7 million people in Guangdong aged 60 or above, which is 12.6 percent of the population. By 2015 that figure will reach 11.7 million,â he said.
Chinaâs economic boom of the past 30 years has sent millions of people flocking to the cities.Â For the many of them who have elderly parents, there is a constant dilemma between staying near the family home or going where the work is.
âAlthough we were poorer in the old days, we lived together and were able to enjoy happy moments at home. Now our life has improved but Iâve had to leave my parents behind,â said Huang Haidong, a factory manager.
âSome of my friends can afford to bring all their family to live with them. But their parents canât get used to urban life and they prefer to stay in the rural areas, alone. Itâs so sad.â
Clearly, the Church can play a valuable role in alleviating loneliness.
âThe Church should promote the value and dignity of life,â said Father John Deng, who makes frequent visits to Church-run old peoplesâ homes around Guangdong.
âSome of the elderly feel they are a burden to the society,â he added, recalling one resident who often said âwhy shouldnât I die? Why should I bring my troubles to other people?â
Joseph Peng, a young Catholic in Shenzhen, had a practical suggestion: âI would urge the Church to open more homes for the aged so that elderly people of the Catholic faith can spend the sunset of their life together in Godâs community," he said.
âI would also like to see parish priests take the initiative and start more care groups for the elderly. We can spend the weekends visiting them and enriching their spiritual lives with organized activities.â
Chancellorâs advice may inspire more charity work
Church struggles to serve growing population