Aug 24, 2009

Youth gathered in Niigata Catholic Church


A group of Catholic youth of Niigata, ranging in age from 13 up to late 20's, gathered together in Niigata Catholic Church over the weekend. Several youths from Narashino, Chiba prefecture, also joined the gathering which was planned and organised by youths themselves to deepen their friendship and understanding of their faith in Catholic Church.


As it is widely known that Japan is a graying society, with more nuclear families and fewer children. Especially for rural areas such as our diocese, exodus of youths to big cities like Tokyo in order to seek job opportunities or higher education affects much to reduce number of young people joining the Church activities in which young people had been already scarce to begin with. This has been affecting our Church activities in rural dioceses. You do not have to move around to find the example. Just attend one Sunday Mass in our Cathedral in Niigata and you will know immediately that there are not so much young members in the community.


Therefore, I have to be grateful and appreciate much for the good and strong initiatives of several youths of Niigata who, without any suggestion from our side, decided to organise such a gathering.


Around 20 people gathered together, though it was very difficult to say the exact number of the participants since some had to leave early or came late for their "ARUBAITO (a part time job)".

A group from Narashino joined the gathering since the parish priest of Niigata, Fr.Ebe, used to be a parish priest of Narashino.


On Friday evening after supper which had been prepared by themselves, I gave a talk on Africa, especially about my mission experience in Ghana and Rwanda. Thoughout the entire morning of Saturday, they had a sharing session on their life experiences. Mr.Masaya Takahashi from Yonezawa who has been working in Cambodia as a lay missionary sent by JLMM joined the group and shared his mission experience. Then Mass was said by Fr.Sakamoto, assistant parish priest with songs accompanied by guitars. The group attended Sunday Mass with the community of Niigata Cathedral and, after the Mass, Mr. Takahashi gave a talk on his mission in Cambodia for those gathered in the Cathedral. (Photo above: The sharing session by the youth)


I hope and pray that these young people will continue to meet regularly and deepen their friendship and faith so that they could be the future leaders of our Church in Niigata.


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