Sep 29, 2009

In my native Miyako

Miyako is a port town in Iwate prefecture famous for their fishery industries and beautiful coastal line of the Sanriku-Kaigan. I was born in Miyako in 1958 and was baptisend within a few weeks in Miyako Catholic Church by a Swiss missionary of the Bethelehem Foreign Missionaries for whom my father was a Catechist. I was there till I entered a elementary school in Morioka. So Miyako is my native home town though I did not spend much time there.

In 2003, Miyako Catholic Church celebrated 50th anniversary of dedication of its chapel and that was my last time to visit the town. By then, I was a provincial superior of the SVD in Japan. I should have visited Miyako early to celebrate thanksgiving Mass immediately after my episcopal ordination since Miyako Church should be regarded as my foundation or base of my life as a Christian. Finally I found a day to visit Miyako and celebrated Mass on last Sunday.

Development in town gave great changes in face of Miyako but the city has been suffering the decreasing number of population especially among youths. The church community was small and aging. There are number of long time members who know me as a baby. However, I could also see a glimpse of hope in the community. There are number of young people joining the Mass. Present Parish priest is Fr. Felipe, MG from Mexico who is an energetic and cheerful young priest. Both senior and young members are happy to be with him.

Thank you so much for your wonderful hospitality, Fr.Felipe and the community and I will try to visit Miyako more often.

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