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
Thousands throng to Marian shrine for favors
’Miraculous’ statue popular among Christians and MuslimsBishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi incensing the Marian statue during the annual pilgrimage
- Uttom Stephan Rozario, Rajshahi
- January 18, 2011
Many of them come to give thanks for answered prayers or to intercede with the Blessed Mother to ask for favors.
âI suffered from a mental illness. My family and I prayed to Mother Mary and got well. So I came to thank her,â said Shefali Soren, a tribal Santal Catholic.
Forty-year-old Soren brought with her a sheep as manot (a thanksgiving gift) to offer to the Blessed Mother.
He was among 7,000 people who flocked to the Mary, Mother of Salvation Shrine at Nobai Bot-tala village of Andharkota parish in Rajshahi diocese on Jan. 16 for the annual pilgrimage.
Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi said people come to pray and present gifts at the Marian shrine.
âAfter several years of marriage I failed to conceive and was very disappointed. In 2009 I came to this shrine and prayed to Mary for a child. It really worked and I gave birth to a baby daughter,â said Shamima Akhter Sima. The Muslim woman claimed that she conceived through the intercession of Mary.
âI am now very happy with family life. With my husband and child, we came to thank Mary for her blessings," she said.
Carlos Marandi, 67, a tribal Santal Catholic, recounted the popularity of the Marian shrine.
He said many people fled from their villages and took refuge at the Church during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
âWhen the invading Pakistan army pointed guns at usâŚwe began to pray to Mother Mary. Miraculously, the army didnât shoot (us) even though they set villagersâ homes on fire,â he said.
Since then, local Catholics have been celebrating the annual pilgrimage of Mary as a way of expressing their gratitude to Mother Mary for saving their lives.
âWe remember the great escape by celebrating the annual pilgrimage just one month after the victory day of Bangladesh on Dec. 16,â said Father William Murmu, the parish priest.
In 2004, the Bishop of Rajshahi declared the Marian shrine as his dioceseâs major shrine. After hearing about the miraculously favors, the shrine attracted more and more people.
The number of devotees this year exceeded our limit capacity for receiving 6,000 people, said Bishop Grevas Rozario of Rajshahi.
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