Oct 12, 2009

Justice and Peace meeting in Ageo

The Justice and Peace commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan held 3-day general assembly in Saitama diocese from 10 to 12 October. On Sunday, 11 October, participants visited different parishes in the diocese to celebrate Sunday Mass together with the parish congregations and also to organise study sessions in respected parishes. I was asked to give a talk for the 8th study session organised by Caritas Japan on the poverty issue. The theme of the study session was "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace" which was the theme of the message of Holy Father on the 42nd World Day of Peace 2009. I had an hour to give a talk before Ms. Inae, a Caritas Japan Programme Officer, who gave an hour talk on the actual projects of Caritas Japan in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Uganda. With a mighty assistance by Power Point, I spoke on the reality of poverty in the world, MDGs and Church's Social teachings especially quoting from both Vatican II and Pope John Paul's "Centesimus Annus".

In "Centesimus Annus", late John Paul II gave a good insight on the Human Development issue such as this one; "Finally, development must not be understood solely in economic terms, but in a way that is fully human. It is not only a question of raising all peoples to the level currently enjoyed by the richest countries, but rather of building up a more decent life through united labour, of concretely enhancing every individual's dignity and creativity, as well as his capacity to respond to his personal vocation, and thus to God's call (29)".

If we see the reality of this world, particularly 8:2 division among people which means 80 % of world population possesses only 20% of world wealth, we have to say that raising all populations life level to the one of, say, for instance, Japan is impossible considering present environmental crisis and limit of natural resources. Realistically, re-distribution of world wealth at this moment is unrealistic to think about. Then what can we do? Then come that word of JPII. Our aim as a Catholic Aid worker is to realise the world where every individual is fully capable to respond to his or her personal vocation and that would be called the Integral Human Development.

Thank you for more than 60 people who joined the study session for more than 2 hours and I also enjoyed lunch with them after the session.

Before the session, I celebrated Sunday Mass with more than 100 people in Ageo Church assisted by Fr.Nakamura, a parish priest and a permanent deacon Rev. Saito who used to be a lay leader of Ageo. This Sunday Mass was especially planned for kids. Just before we started Mass, an alter boy turned around and told me in this way; Bishop I hope your homily would be good for us, kids. Well, well. A good homily for kids. I tried my best during the homily. I hope it was good for these kids in Ageo.

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