Oct 10, 2010

Network Meeting in Shikotsuko

The 19th Network Meeting has been held in Shikotsuko (Lake Shikotsu) in Hokkaido from 9 to 10 October and more than 100 Catholic youths from all over Japan have gathered together in the Youth Hostel for their bi-annual meeting to exchange information on the Catholic Youth Apostolate in each diocese and deepen their friendship.  The Network Meeting itself has been planned and executed by young Catholics in Japan by themselves and assisted by the Japan Catholic Youth National Council, the officially recognized council by Bishops' Conference.  In 1998, the Bishops' Conference decided to discontinue the National Youth Committee of the Bishops'Conference and asked each of 16 dioceses in Japan to organise their own youth apostolate according to the local needs and situation.  However, Catholic Youth themselves felt needs to create their own association in national level to support each other and, thus, created the Japan Catholic Youth Council as their own organisation.  Through their discussion in the Council, they came with this bright idea of organising a network of youth apostolate in the Catholic Church in Japan and of organising bi-annual gatherings of youth in national level.  The very first meeting was held in Tokyo in 2001 and after 9 years, finally, it reached the northern end of Japan. The Bishops' Conference is supporting the youth apostolate by appointing Bishop Koriyama of Kagoshima as a bishop in charge.

For the 19th meeting, more than 20 youths from Sapporo diocese set up the organizing committee under the guidance of Fr. Morita, the diocesan youth chaplain.  The committee created wonderful 2-day program of activities and also organised themselves to prepare wonderful meals which was appreciated by participants from all over Japan including 8 priests and a Sister. Niigata diocese was represented by 4 youths.

The participants were divided into 10 groups and, on Saturday afternoon which I had participated in, sent out to look for 20 typical Hokkaido scenery which they had to take photos.  Photo above is the one of these groups taking one of these photos.  The very first item the participants from outside Hokkaido in this group mentioned was a buttered potatoes which is quite popular in Hokkaido.

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