Jul 12, 2011

"All Japan" Catholics to support Sendai diocese

Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) had decided to mobilize entire dioceses in Japan to support disaster stricken Sendai and Saitama diocese for their rehabilitation efforts by sending volunteers and donations.  Bishops also decided to respond to the request by Bishop Hiraga of Sendai to assign 6 priests to assist pastoral care of the Sendai diocese which had been suffering from shortage of priests for sometime.

CBCJ had establish a team to coordinate this effort to support Sendai and Saitama and appointed me to be in charge of the operation since I am also a president of Caritas Japan.  Bishops had assigned Fr. Kanda of Osaka as my assistant and Mr. Hamaguchi of Osaka as the secretary.  Since the end of March, the team has been coordinating rescue efforts of all the diocese through e-mail's mailing list system.

On 11 July, exactly 4 months after the earthquake, a very first meeting of the "All Japan" team of Catholic Dioceses was held in Sendai Cathedral beginning with memorial Mass said by Bishop Hiraga.  40 people from all the 16 dioceses in Japan gathered together for a meeting in the afternoon.  Since this was the first time and we were in short of time, we just managed to share our own experience of past 4 months and also to listen to the story and plea of Sendai diocese.  Now we know each other well and decided to continue to put our effort together to support Sendai and Saitama dioceses.

After the meeting, participants were divided to 3 groups to visit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima respectively for a over night trip to know the reality of the disaster area.

The photo above is our meeting on Monday which was held in a small chapel of the Cathedral.  There was no other space to accommodate 40 people for a meeting.  You may wonder why there were no such spaces in Diocesan center.  It is because most of such big spaces of the center have been dedicated to use for the Sendai Diocese Support Center to facilitate and coordinate rehabilitation and reconstruction activities of the diocese.

As I am joining Bishop Tani's group to visit Mexico from tomorrow, next posting of this blog will be on or after 23 July.

By the way, Holy Father has just appointed Fr.Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, as an archbishop of LUXEMBOURG.  Why am I writing about the appointment of bishop in Europe?  Because Fr. Hollerich is currently working in Japan.  He is a German professor in Sophia University in Tokyo.  Congratulations, Bishop-elect Hollerich!

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