Dec 27, 2010
Merry Christmas to you all in Niigata and Sapporo dioceses!
During our midnight Mass in Niigata cathedral on 24th evening, 2 strong young men have been baptized and also been confirmed by me after several months of intensive preparation by Fr. Ebe, the parish priest and his assistant, Fr. Sakamoto. As usual, the Cathedral was packed by the people to join the Christmas celebration including quite number of non-Christians. The evening Mass on 24th December attracts many non-Christians in Japan and a Christmas party has become December tradition in recent Japan. At least those who decided to come to Church on the night had chance to listen to the Word of God.
Northern part of Japan has been covered by heavy snow fall for the Christmas day. Niigata city itself was not so bad but it was so cold. And the highway connecting Niigata and Fukushima was closed down completely for 2 days because of heavy snowfall and more than 300 cars were stuck for hours in cold snow. According to the weather forecast, it may snow heavy again in the end of the year. I got to fly to Sapporo tomorrow and have to return to Niigata for the midnight Mass on 31 December. I hope I will make it to Sapporo and return to Niigata on time for the end of the year Mass.
Dec 8, 2010
On 3 December in the afternoon around 3 pm, a small tornado hit a part of Niigata city. It was really a windy afternoon and very cold. Fr. Fernando, a parish administrator of Hanazono Parish, was staying in his room in Toyano Church, an out-station of Hanazono, when a part of roof of Toyano Church was ripped off violently with great noise. Thank God that he was not hurt but a half of the front roof of the Church building was completely damaged and inside the building, especially the second floor, was soaked with strong rain. Nearby High School building was also damaged and several students were injured by broken windows. According to the local meteorological observatory, the area was hit by a small tornado. Recently we hear a lot of incidents of tornado in Japan. Until few years ago, we thought that tornado has nothing to do with Japan. Is this because of climate change we are talking about?