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
Training program boosts vocational skills
Center provides training suited to the local environmentYoung people in Atambu, west Timor, learn farming skills from Divine Word brothers
- Fransiskus P. Seran, Nenuk
- August 10, 2011
The province is also unusual as it is mainly Catholic; it has hosted many thousands of Christians seeking refuge from conflicts elsewhere in Indonesia.
With all this as background, it is no surprise that a number of Catholic NGOs are hard at work here, trying to promote simple, self -sufficient ways for residents to survive and even prosper.
One of these initiatives, the Training Center for Agriculture and Rural Self-Help, run by brothers of the Society of the Divine Word, has met with an encouraging amount of success.Â In its four years of operation, it has helped students from five vocational schools and a local university to learn sustainable methods of making a living from the land.
The Divine Word brothers believe that the key to success here is to use an integrated approach, which best suits the climate and topography. So at the 40-hectare center, they teach the students to combine the twin tasks of growing produce and raising livestock.
In their four- to eight-week courses, the students spend time on the chicken farm, learning about preparation, feeding, vaccinating and making fertilizer from the chickensâ dirt. They also find out a little about raising pigs and cattle.
Then, in the plantations of teak trees, cashews, candlenuts and mangoes, they learn how to cultivate the land, plant seeds, make fertilizers, irrigate, prevent disease and finally to harvest. In all aspects, the center uses only organic fertilizers and practices.
âWe aim to encourage students to love both farming and breeding, as that is what suits the province best,â says Bro. Elfridus Muti, who heads the center.
Primalinda Lunas, from St. Pius X Vocational School in nearby Bitauni, is one of the many who have benefited from the program. Now she is using what she learned to become a professional farmer and breeder. âIt was great to learn at the training center, because I was taught by the brothers who have great knowledge in both skills,â she says.
Now the center hopes to extend its outreach with an ongoing series of workshops for other students and teachers, as well as its core training.
Mass encourages sustainable agriculture