May 17, 2010

Confirmation in Takada

Ascension day is celebrated on the seventh Sunday of Easter in Japan and, therefore, yesterday was the celebration. On that Sunday, 13 people received the sacrament of Confirmation in the Christ the King Parish in Takada. The parish priest, Fr. Mario Canducci, a Franciscan from Italy, always does his best to prepare candidates very well to receive the sacraments every year. Though he is over 75 and preparing for his golden jubilee of ordination this year, he is still energetic in his pastoral activities. I was happy to see several young faces among the 13 candidates yesterday. It will be quite difficult for young kids to continue to come to church after they enter high schools because of extra curriculum activities on Sundays. So Fr. Mario does his best to catch kids just before they are really involved in these activities to prepare for the confirmation. Though they will have difficulties to attend Sunday Masses, the memory of confirmation will remain in their heart, and one day, they may return to the community.

The Confirmation Mass was celebrated by myself, Fr. Mario, Fr. Takayabu, a resident priest and Fr. Ohtaki, the chancellor of the diocese. Fr. Ohtaki was originally baptized in Takada while he was a high school student and was visiting the area for the diocesan business. I hope more young people will follow good example of their senior brother of Takada, Fr. Ohtaki, and join the priesthood in near future. In this regard, I was happy to be with a young boy who performed his duty quite perfectly as a lone altar boy during the ceremony vested in his over sized cassock.

Congratulations for those 13 members who received the sacrament. I am also happy to see among them faces from several countries. God bless you all with his Holy Spirit.

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