Apr 1, 2010

Holy Thursday in Niigata

The Holy Triduum has began and today is the Holy Thursday, a day to commemorate the last supper and the institution of the Holy Communion by Lord Jesus himself. In Niigata diocese, the Chrism Mass has been celebrated on Tuesday and for Sapporo diocese, it was on Wednesday so that majority of priests working in both dioceses were able to join the celebration for them. Some of them had to travel more than 300 km to attend the Mass with their Bishop.

The Mass on Holy Thursday in Niigata was presided by myself at 7 pm today in Niigata Cathedral. Because of aging society in Japan, especially in Niigata city center, attendance of evening liturgy in Niigata has been decreasing for past few years. This evening, though the liturgy is quite important for our spiritual life since the Holy Communion is the center pillar of our Christian faith, we had around 100 faithful to join the liturgy.

After the homily, following the example of the Lord Jesus himself, we had a liturgy of washing feet. I could see that the parish priest had difficulty to find 12 men to be washed. By the way, I remember my days in a parish in Ghana, especially during special liturgy. I will not forget my first experience of the Holy Thursday in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Osonson, Krobo in 1988. When I approached Mr. Amerkudji, then the parish president, he suddenly said it loud that, "Lord do not wash my feet". I did not know how to reply. They were expecting me to enact the scene in the Gospel. What I remember was myself standing in front of my parishioners not knowing what to do next. Good old memory.

By the way in Niigata this evening, quite a number of people stayed in the crypt after the Mass to spend sometime in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The adoration continued till 10 pm.

There will be the Good Friday liturgy at 7 pm tomorrow and the Easter vigil on Saturday at 7 pm. Join us in Niigata Cathedral.

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