May 10, 2009

After all, it was more than 6 hours drive

So I visited Yokote in Akita prefecture yesterday and today. I wrote that I had to drive for 5 hours but, after all, I found out that was wrong. It was more than a 6-hours-drive. Since I was caught by Police last September for over speeding, though first time in my driving career, I have been very cautious to keep the speed limit.
During this morning Mass at 9:30 am, 4 people received confirmation in Yokote. Unfortunetely 2 other candidates could not show up because of their engagement with school sports activities . Yes, school sports activities on Sundays! This has been a big problem for us, Sunday-Church-goers in Japan that most of our Junior High and Senior High schools engage their students to several sports activities after hours which usually require students to join games and competitions on Sundays. That is why we do not see many young kids in our parishes.

As I wrote, half of those who attended today's Mass were from Philippines. They are married with Japanese. Also their Kids were there. According to the pastor, Fr.Oman,SVD, an Indonesian, there are more than 40 Filipinos registered with his parish and their kids are more than 50. Then one of them told me today after Mass, there must be more than 100 of them residing the area. You see, 100 new members for a parish of 30 is quite a big number. So we have to do something for this situation. I have been encouraging people to find their own way to come together, Japanese and non-Japanese catholics, in order to over come differences and difficulties of building one community, not two separated communities in one parish.

Congratulations for those who received confirmation today in Yokote.


  1. Thank you so much Bishop for officiating the mass yesterday. I thank the Lord for the big turn-out and always pray that we see the same faces every Sunday. Yes, unfortunately, the school activities have wrecked havoc on the most important day of our week and it hasn't been easy to drag the kids to mass when the school requires them to be practicing and making themselves "better" instead, leaving very little time for the family to bond .The school stresses on giving our children quality education but it misses out on giving the parents the chance to get to know our kids better as they grow and change because either they're still practising in school, getting the extra lessons at cram schools because the extra-curricular activities are taking so much of their time after school to study at home, or they're already asleep because they're too tired to make conversation with the family. So far, my daughter has practice until 12 every Sunday but gets to leave school about 30 minutes later. But most of the kids have the whole day to practice, I'm sure. She had to take the day off so she could be in church but I don't think she's willing to do that every Sunday. It's a dilemma which we as parents are faced with. However, unless we, ourselves, do not come to church and show our children how to live as good christians they will never come to know Christ nor the christian community in which we are all a part of. And they will miss out on a very important part of their existence.
    We can have extra masses if we so request but we have to be there. We have to committed. To Christ. And the rest will follow.

  2. That's me (John) up there, by the way.

    Louella Shoji

  3. We need your Guidance and Prayer
    Dear Bishop Isao,
    Greetings from the City of Kamakura, Yokote.
    On behalf of all members of Infant Jesus Parish of Yokote, I would like to give you thanks for your official visiting at this time. It is a bessing for us all that you visit us although we knew that you have daily hard schedules. Thank you very much for encouraging us all to put a step ahead to build a Christian Commnity based on Christian brotherhood regardless of cultural and national differences. For that purpose we really need your continuing guidance and prayer that the community of Yokote Catholic church could be able to respect each other regardless of the differences of cultural and nationalities back ground. As it was,now and now on we ask your blessing in the name of the Holy Trinity that the community of Yokote Church have the hope and courage to move on in to the new spirit of building a community that goes beyond the diferenceses of generations and nationalities. Now, pray for us all especially our elders who could not be able to attend the church for their health reasons, and for our young peoples who are trying their best at school and in various kinds of club activities. We too, pray for you that you can lead the diocese of Niigata in to true hope in Christ, in which the glory of Trinity can be a powerfull sign to the society we live in.
    Oremus pro invicem,
    Fr. Martin Oman,SVD

  4. John and Fr.Martin. Thank you for your comments. I was happy to see so many energetic faces in Yokote. Keep it up with your efforts to build a good community.
    Bishop Isao Kikuchi,SVD

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.