Sep 24, 2009

Touring Akita - 1

After a week long tour of Akita, I am just back in Niigata last night. During my stay in Akita, mostly stayed in the SEITAI HOSHI KAI convent, I had several different events to attend.

First of all, there was a seminar for presidents of Catholic Junior Colleges in Japan on 17 and 18 in Akita Seirei Junior College (the SSpS school) for which 10 junior colleges sent their delegates . Their request for me was to deliver a keynote address on the theme of "what I expect from the Catholic Junior College" and celebrate a Mass. This topic given to me was quite delicate and difficult to talk since it had been a common understanding that all these small scale private Catholic colleges in Japan had been facing similar problem of decline in enrollment, absence of successor in respective religious congregations and financial crisis. It was useless for me to repeat all these problems so that I had to concentrate of the local issue. I mentioned that, though I understand their difficult situation, I expect these colleges to become a primary tool for evangelisation since school provides opportunity to Christianity to meet people who do not have any interest to visit our church.

Then on Sunday, 20, I made a pastoral visit of Tsuchisaki parish in Akita city. Parish priest is Fr.Kotaro Iino, SVD. Since following day is the National day for respect-for-the-Aged, the parish also celebrated a day for senior members. During the Mass, several senior members over 75 years old came forward to receive blessing. Reflecting the reality of Japanese society which is rapidly graying, it has been sometime since we do not hear any sound of young kids or babies during Mass in many parishes and Tsuchisaki was no exception. I hope we would be able to attract more young family to join us. After the Mass, a small but warm reception was held in a parish hall with "KIRITANPO-NABE", Akita's favorite. Thank you for wonderful reception and beautiful songs. (Photo above; those senior members of Tsuchisaki received special blessing)

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