Oct 26, 2009

Confirmation in AKITA

Twelve people received the sacrament of Confirmation during last Sunday Mass in Akita parish. It was a part of my official visitation of the Akita parish, though I have visited and said Mass already in Akita in September for their 125th anniversary. Well, it is good to visit the parish on usual Sunday so that I can see the real attendance of Sunday Mass. Akita supposed to be the biggest parish in the diocese and, because of the number and history, I expect more effort of the evengelisation from the parish community though I do understand the difficult cultural and social situation in rural Akita.

The parish priest, Fr.Makoto Nagayama, SVD did very well in preparing alter boys and girls utilising his talent as a high school teacher for over the years. Among these 12, 4 were students of SEIREI (SSpS)schools; 3 students of the high school and a student of the junior college. All of them have their unique history to reach this day. It is not so usual to have so many catholic students at one time in our "Catholic Schools" in this rural area. Congratulations and I will expect all of you to be responsible members of the community in Evangelisation. (Photo above: Akita Parish church on the confirmation Sunday)

By the way, the rumor about him was really true. Last Saturday, Holy Father accepted a resignation of Cardinal Martino as the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and appointed Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson as its new president. Cardinal Turkson, 61, is from Ghana, my beloved second home country. The cardinal has been an archbishop of Cape Coast, very traditional Ghanaian see. He was appointed the archbishop in 1992 while he was still studying for his doctorate in Rome after his archbishop, famous late archbishop John Amissah died in motor accident in 1991. The late archbishop was the first Ghanaian to be elevated to the episcopacy in age of 34 in 1957 and was a strong voice against any social injustice committed by the authority. When one of his diocesan priest was arrested because of his opposition to the dictatorship of the army government, the late archbishop went to the police station and stood in front of the main entrance over night to demand his release. That is one of his famous stories. I attended his funeral Mass in Cape Coast, since I was working in Ghana at that time. During the ceremony, a fighter jet flew over the site very low and we knew that the chairman of the PNDC, the military government at that time, JJ Rawlings was flying the plane by himself to pay respect to his one of archenemies. He was really a "Big Man".

Some say that Cardinal Turkson would be a candidate for next Pope. May be. Congratulations for Cardinal.

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