I have been in Sapporo since Sunday evening till Saturday to participate in several activities of Sapporo diocese. First of all, there was a gathering of Priests working in Sapporo area in Hanakawa from Monday morning to Tuesday morning. Last time in Hanakawa, we had a serious study session on the Canon Law and my mind was completely occupied by the heavy marriage cases. This time, we had a meeting of sharing information. After the meeting, we could even go to Onsen, a hot spring, near by the Sisters' house where we stayed. From Onsen, we had wonderful view of sea.
Then I participated in a meeting of Caritas Sapporo yesterday. As a president of Caritas Japan, I know that only a handful of diocese has actual diocesan Caritas structures and Sapporo is one of them. The diocese organises special collections for the diocesan Caritas which, in turn, effectively utilises the fund to support several social activities in the diocese, though the amount is not so big.
This evening, I was invited by the staff members of the Caritas Family Support Center which has been established and run by a Catholic social worker who used to work in a former Catholic hospital in Sapporo. The diocese supports the activity by sending 2 social workers to the center. The center extends their helping hands to any issue which threaten human life and their activities are based on the Gospel value. In 2008, there were more than 1100 cases of consultation, not only from those who are in Hokkaido but from all over Japan. As usual with these activities in Japan, they are short of funds to support their activities. I think they have to put more time for communication to let more people know their activities which is very important for modern Japanese society so that they may receive more financial supports.
Tomorrow, there will be a diocesan consultors meeting in Sapporo and on Friday and Saturday, I will take part in the seminar organised by the Commission for Migrants and Itinerary People in Sapporo. (Photo above is the Cathedral of Sapporo Diocese, Kita-Ichijo Church)