May 24, 2010

Pentecost in Tokamachi

Yesterday was the Pentecost Sunday and it was quite a windy day in Niigata. Well, it would be good to feel the blowing wind on the Pentecost Sunday so that we may be able to imagine how the Holy Spirit blew on the day among disciples. I went to Tokamachi to celebrate the Pentecost Sunday Mass with the community of the Assumption Parish. During the Mass, 3 people received the sacrament of confirmation and 2 kids received their first communion. Since the parish priest of Nagaoka, Fr. Bruno, ofm, visits Tokamachi after he completes Mass in Nagaoka, Sunday Mass in Tokamachi begins at 3 pm. As for yesterday, people started to gather together around 2 pm for the Flores de Mayo procession. Yes, majority of the community in Tokamachi Catholic Church is from Philippines who are married to local Japanese. So yesterday before Mass, several original Japanese Catholics, Filipino mothers, number of their Japanese husbands and their kids made a procession after the statue of Mary. What a international community. All together around 40 people went around inside the Kindergarten since the windy and rainy weather did not permit us to go out.

After the Mass, we went to the Kindergartens hall for a party. There were a dance by a boy who had received his first communion, games and good food. Fr. Bruno suggested mothers to let little ladies wear Yukata dress instead of the traditional white costume for first communion, etc. What impressed me the most was 2 Filipino mothers who wore Japanese traditional Kimono and gave a Japanese dance performance. They have been in Japan for many years and managed to immerse themselves deep into Japanese culture.

I am sure that there must be a lot of problem they face in building a united community for the Tokamachi Church with different nationalities and back grounds. Especially, at this moment, Japanese Catholics are minority in Tokamachi. I would like to ask each one of the community to be compassionate to each other and also try to understand differences of each culture.

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