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
Turning red envelopes green
Laity makes New Year safe for the environmentStudents explain the Greeners Action campaign to recycle New Year envelopes
- ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong
- February 2, 2012
Lai See (or hongbao in Mandarin) is a monetary gift placed in a small red envelope that is given to people, especially children, during the 15-day New Year celebrations or on other special occasions.
Since Chinese people traditionally prefer using new things at the New Year to symbolize a new start, this has become an issue of ecological concern, as environmental awareness is on the rise.
Greeners Action, an NGO that encourages students to protect the environment, estimates 180 million red envelopes are used in Hong Kong each year, equivalent to 9,253 trees.
Ideally, the design of envelopes should avoid depicting the year or zodiac animal so that they can be reused more easily, said the groupâs spokesperson Angus Ho on Monday.
It has set up 158 collection points for used red envelopes at the airport, shopping malls, commercial buildings and at banks from January 29 to February 14.
This year, the Catholic laity council printed six million red envelopes for local parishes, several overseas Chinese communities and for the January 17-23 Lunar New Year Fair.
âWe were aware not to over-print so we asked how many each parish wanted beforehand,â said Rosa Lai, the councilâs vice president.
The councilâs red envelopes are printed with a Chinese character Fu (blessing) in front and a Biblical phrase and its contact information at the back.
To encourage their reuse, the self-adhesive glue has been replaced with a refoldable flap.
They cost more to make but it is for environmental protection, Lai said.
Recycling red envelopes to make New Year decorations is an alternative.
Josephine Yan, secretary of St Edwardâs Parish, usually collects envelopes to make decorative accessories such as lanterns for the parish or as gifts during Chinese New Year.
âIt is the best material to use in terms of size, design and color for the traditional festival,â she said.
Greeners Action collected 270,000 envelopes last year and it expects to collect about 400,000 this year, which it will give to other NGOs to use again.
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