Oct 9, 2011

Sapporo district held its assembly

Sapporo district held its assembly called "Shito-shoku Taikai (Assembly for apostolates)" on Sunday October 2 at Fuji Women's University in downtown Sapporo.  The Sapporo district is the biggest in number of faithful among 6 districts of Sapporo diocese since the district is comprised of 20 parishes in the capital city of Sapporo and surroundings.

Usually an international Mass is organised a week before on the Mission Sunday together with several fun events in Kita Ichijo Cathedral parish.  However, for this year, the district decided to combine the international Mass and the Assembly Mass and organised the event as meeting place for both Japanese and migrant Catholics in Sapporo area.  The theme of the assembly was "Let's get together!"

At the beginning of the assembly, I was invited as a lecturer to give a talk on our experience in Shinjo in Yamagata prefecture where Filipino community worked together with their families and 2 local Japanese Catholics to establish a parish in October 2010.  I shared a story of one of their leaders in Shinjo who struggle for more than 20 years after she migrated to Japan to get married with a Japanese farmer to find their own place for worship.  Because of her eagerness to go to Church on Sundays which supposed to be a resting day, her neighbours started to ask her a question.  "Are you not able to live without going to Church?"  Her enthusiasm to visit Church made others to feel that she was kind of different.  So they wanted to know why she wants to go to Church on holidays.  After days of hard work in farm, she should take a day of rest.  In stead of resting, she struggle to go to Church.  So people wanted to know her motivation.

As Catholic Church in Japan does not have sufficient outposts in rural villages, the presence of so many Filipino Catholics in the villages as wives and mothers are quite crucial for the evengelisation in Japan.  In fact, as I have been telling them, they are missionaries sent to Japan to be witness of the Word of God despite their different reasons to be in Japan.  That question by a neighbor of the leader of the community is quite significant.  "Are you not able to live without going to Church?"  We also want to be asked the same question by others.  We want to be witnesses of Gospel and that is the mission by the Lord to all of us, Christians.  In fulfilling this mission in Japan, God has his own plan to proclaim his good news in Japan.  And our beloved brothers and sisters from other countries are missionaries to be sent to places traditional church could not reach in Japan.

During the international Mass, several readings and general intersessions were in different languages.  Beautiful kids from several countries came up to the front for offertory and songs in several languages were sung.

After the Mass, during lunch time, for our great surprise, a VIP guest suddenly appeared in front of us in person of "President Obama" of the USA together with his strong security police force.  He greeted us and, of course, shared a Maccha Ice Cream with us which he had enjoyed in Kamakura.  It was a perfect performance organised by the International community of the district.  Thank you for your wonderful performance.  

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