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
Trappist ice cream lures tourists
Trappist ice cream: expensive, remote and oh-so-deliciousTrappist ice cream gets visitors flocking to the abbey where it's made
- September 6, 2012
Last year, these Trappists launched a new line of soft-serve ice cream. At 320 yen (about US$4), it is on the expensive side, and it can only be purchased at Our Lady of Pharos Monastery in Hokuto City, Hokkaido, some 670km north of Tokyo. Ever since the ice creamâs introduction, rave reviews have appeared online for its âunforgettable taste.â
The soft-serve will remain on sale through early November. When eaten together with one of the renowned Trappist cookies, the result is âdouble delicious.â
Tourists visiting the Trappist shop had been requesting ice cream, so Abbot Kunihiko Yoshimoto put the idea to the rest of the abbey about two years ago. A team of 12, including both monks and lay employees, was assembled, with Brother Makoto Kamata at the head.
This team collaborated with industry experts to refine the recipe in a process including three tasting sessions and lots of research and discussion. The distinctive taste of the resulting ice cream comes from its use of the famous Trappist butter. The butter is cultured with lactic acid, giving it a rich flavor and a tantalizing aroma.
The monastery is somewhat removed from civilization, causing Br. Kamata to worry. But as rumor of the soft-serve spread, the monks found a hit on their hands, with 20,000 people served in just the past year.
A recent Thursday saw a steady stream of ice-cream seekers arrive by car and motorcycle, from parents and their children to couples, young people, and tourists. Priests on retreat stopped by, and construction workers building what will become the Hokkaido-Shinkansen rail line showed up, still wearing their work clothes.
A daycare service for the elderly arrived with 15 people in a van. According to the caregivers, this is the fifth trip to the store since someone first suggested an ice cream run to the monastery. But these visitors arenât only here for the soft-serve: after their snack, they remain on the property for a while, spending time in the adjoining church building and enjoying the vistas of the surrounding nature.
Br. Kamata says that, since they started selling ice cream, the number of people coming to relax at the monastery has grown.
âI think itâs great. These people came out here just to visit the monastery. If they get even just a small taste of what it means to be at rest in the presence of God, Iâll be really happy.â