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
Sri Lanka gears for Independence Day
Catholics hope for genuine peace, reconciliation, unity and libertySri Lankan flag
- ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
- Sri Lanka
- February 3, 2011
Sri Lanka will mark its 63rd day of independence from colonial British rule on Feb. 4 when in 1948 it became the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
"Everybody should take this opportunity to work toward achieving a lasting peace and it must promote true freedom, justice and political reconciliation for all its citizens,â€ť said Nalin Fernando, a Catholic teacher in a government-run school.
The event marks not only the defeat of 133 years of British rule, but also the chance of living in a truly peaceful country, he said.
Roman Packianathan, a Catholic government servant, expressed concern for the freedom of expression in the country. It is popularly believed that the government is allegedly behind muffling free press and the freedom of expression.
â€śThe UN insisted on freedom of expression regarding the treatment of the press and recent incidents,â€ť said Packianathan. â€śJournalists should be able to carry out their work without fear of attack or being harassed to do the work that they need to do,â€ť he added.
In Sri Lanka, 14 journalists including Christians have been murdered within the past two decades, with 12 of them in the past five years. Some of them have been imprisoned and many have left the country.
Meanwhile, the main opposition United National Party said they plan to boycott tomorrowâ€™s national event.
â€śThe country could not celebrate Independence Day when the real war hero who defeated terrorism is behind bars,â€ť said its general secretary Tissa Attanayake at a press briefing. It plans a vigil on Feb. 4 calling for the release of jailed former army commander Sarath Fonseka.
The former general was arrested on Feb. 8, 2010 and is serving a 30-month jail sentence. He was credited with winning the war against the rebel Tamil Tigers but charged with corrupt arms dealings and conspiracy to topple the government after his defeat to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential election.
Local media reported official of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms saying President Rajapaksa will however pardon 1,500 prisoners on Independence Day as part of national celebrations.
Sri Lankan priest urges justice for war crimes
Sri Lankan bishops promote post-war unity
Nuns learn how to heal Tamil-Sinhalese rift