Jun 29, 2009

Back from Russia

Just to report to you, dear readers, that I have come back from Russia this afternoon to Niigata. Thank you for your prayer for safe journey. In Irkutsk from Tuesday to Thursday, I had a wonderful meeting with Bishop Cyryl Klimowicz. This was not my first visit to Irkutsk. I have visited Irkutsk in 99 and 2000. Especially in September, 2000, I participated the dedication of the Cathedral in Irkutsk. There I met a young Polish SVD missionary who now became a Vicar General of the diocese, Fr.Wlodzimierz, SVD who welcomed us in Irkutsk airport on Tuesday.

Our main purpose of the visit was to discuss with bishop on our intention to establish relationship with Khabarovsk Catholic community and Niigata Catholic community. Fortunately, Bishop Klimowicz was very much in understanding of our intention that the relationship should not be based on any financial tie but rather on the spiritual partnership between two Catholic communities.

From Friday to today, I was in Khabarovsk alone. Since Fr.Marcelo, the Argentinian parish priest and his assistant, Fr. Ivan were to go back to their home country, Argentine, to renew their Russian Visa, I celebrated Sunday Mass with the community. Unfortunately, I do not speak Russian. So I said Mass in English and congregation replied in Russian. Then I preached in English and Sr. Radosty, the Superior of the SSVM translated it into Russian, The SSVM is the female branch of the Argentina-based Institute of the Incarnate Word, formed in 1984. The nuns' congregation was set up in 1988. Fr. Marcelo and Ivan are both members of the Institute and SSVM are sending 3 sisters to Khabarovsk from July to fill the vacuum created by return of Japanese Sisters this Spring.

During my stay, I had yet another privilege to be invited by a Russian Orthodox Seminary to have diner with one of their priests. The diner was really interesting occasion to exchange ideas and information about both Churches. (Photo above: Catholic Cathedral of Irkutsk)

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