Jan 15, 2010

St.Arnold Janssen, SVD

Today, 15th January, is a feast day of St.Arnold Janssen who established a congregation I belong to, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). He was a diocesan priest and a high school teacher in Germany. Though he was enjoying his apostolate as a teacher, he also developed his interest for supporting foreign mission activities. He tried to find someone who was interested to establish a mission seminary in Germany in vain. Finally, after receiving an advice from Bishop of Hong Kong, he decided to do so by himself. In 1875, he managed to purchase a house in Holland in a town called Style since such a new venture for Catholic Church was not allowed by the German government at that time. That was the beginning of the St.Michael's Mission Seminary and the Society of the Divine Word with only 4 members. In 1879, he already managed to send 2 missionaries to China. Japan received the SVD missionaries in 1907 just a few years before the death of the founder on 15 January, 1909. Japan was the last mission destination chosen by the founder himself. St.Arnold also founded the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters (SSpS) and the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters. In Japan, SVD is known for their education apostolate especially by Nanzan Schools in Nagoya and Nagasaki. But SVD is, first and most, a religious society of missionaries for the primary evengelisation so that each member, whether one is working for a school or a parish or whatever place, has to have a spirit of a missionary who is ready to abandon one's own culture and language for the sake of evangelisation. I am glad to be a member of this Society otherwise I never had any chance to be a missionary in Ghana for 8 years immediately after my ordination. Please remember missionaries of the Church in your prayer today.

Catholic Church in Japan and Christian Churches of other denominations are organising a week of prayer for Christian Unity, starting from 18 January till 25. "You are witnesses of these things (Luke 24:48)" is the theme for this year. A booklet has been prepared by the CBCJ and the NCC. Each diocese or district has their own programme for the week. In Niigata city, since late Bishop Itoh was in charge of the committee for Ecumenism of the CBCJ for many years, there have been a good collaboration among Christian Churches and Catholics for many years. There used to be a daily evening prayer service through out the week until recently in Niigata. However the reality of the aging society in this area forced us to change the style. So as for this year's week, we are going to have 4 prayer services during the week in day time.

  • On 18, Monday at 10:30 am at Niigata Salvation Army.
  • On 20, Wednesday at 10:30 am at Terao Catholic Church.
  • On 22, Friday at 10:30 am at St. Paul Anglican Church.
  • On 24, Sunday at 2 pm at Nihon Kirisuto Kyodan Niigata Church (on Eisho street)

You are all invited to join the prayer.

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