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
Severe floods strike southwest
Sichuan Catholics predict hard winter for villagers after crops wiped outFlood waters submerge the street in front of a church in Quxian
- ucanews.com reporter, Quxian
- September 23, 2011
Most rural families were unable to harvest their crops or take measures to protect their property and valuables when floodwater inundated their farms and homes, several Catholic farmers have said.
The flooding that hit parts of central, southwest and northwest China has left 90 dead and 22 missing, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Two weeks of continuous downpours caused extensive flooding and landslides in nine provinces forcing more than 1.6 million to evacuateĀ their homes. Economic losses are estimated at 26.09 billion yuan (US$4.08 billion).
Nanchong diocese in the eastern part of Sichuan was badly hit by floodwaters when the Qujiang River burst its banks. The homes of more 1.3 million peopleĀ in Quxian County alone, including 500 Catholics,Ā were lost orĀ damaged.
āThe temperature at night is around 15 degrees Celsius, making life very uncomfortable for the homeless,ā said a lay leader, who predicted rural families will endure a difficult winter as a result of destroyed crops and delayed harvests.
The 126-year-old Liduba Church in the county lost its 40-meter-long enclosing wall and a 27-meter-long retaining wall on September 18 due to floodwaters.
Contents inside the church and the priestās residence were washed away by the torrents of water. Items that did survive after the water receded were damaged and covered in mud.
The local community had only just recovered from serious flooding that occurred last year.
Floodwaters several meters high also seriously damaged another Quxian church.
Father Chen Sihong, the parish priest, says the damage to the two churches will cost about 200,000 yuan to repair.
The Catholic-run Jinde Charities organization said they are closely monitoring the situation in various provinces and assessing what relief efforts it will make.