May 6, 2009

Fr.Sakamoto has been ordained today!

Today at noon, more than 300 people gathered together in the Christ the King Cathedral in Niigata to witness the ordination mass of Fr. Francisco Salesio Kohtaro Sakamoto as a diocesan priest of Niigata diocese. Mass was presided over by myself, Bishop of Niigata, together with 45 priests concelebrating. Thanks to his cheerful character, so many friends from all over Japan, including a group from Hachinohe where Fr.Sakamoto had been baptised and from Kodaira Parish in Tokyo where he spent sometime to help parish activities while he was a seminarian, traveled quite a distance to come to Niigata to congratulate him . Thanks for all those who joined today's celebration and for all who took time to pray for the new priest.

Fr.Sakamoto was baptised in Hachinohe when he was already working in old folks home. Late Fr.Doi of Sendai diocese baptised him and was looking forward to witness his "Son" to be ordained. Unfortunately, Fr.Doi has passed away a few days ago in Sendai. Fr. Sakamoto first joined Sendai diocese as a seminarian and was sent to then Tokyo Catholic Major Seminary, now the amalgamated Catholic Major Seminary of Japan. He went through difficult time to discern his vocation and decided to take a leave from the seminary for 3 years. Then he returned the seminary as a seminarian for Niigata diocese.

This is my second time to preside over the priestly ordination in my diocese. I ordained Fr. Manabu Takahashi 4 years ago thinking I may not have opportunity to ordain any one for next 10 years since, at that time, I did not have any seminarian for the diocese. Though it was a loss for Sendai diocese, and I sincerely thank Bp.Hiraga of Sendai to made me to meet and talk to Fr.Sakamoto at that time, I really felt the mystery of providence of God today. I was shaken when I started Mass today. God is so good.

Kindly remember Fr.Kohtaro Sakamoto in your daily prayer. Also kindly continue to pray for vocation.

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