Nov 10, 2011

17th Japan Korea exchange meeting of Catholic Bishops@Sendai

Catholic Bishops of Japan and Korea meets once a year in either country for exchange meeting.  As for this year, it was turn of Japan.  Originally we planned to organise the meeting in Kanazawa, Nagoya diocese to learn more about Takayama Ukon, a Japanese Samurai and Daimyo who died in exile in Philippines during 16th century's persecution period.  Japanese Catholic Church is working hard to have him beatified soon.

Then 11 March happened.  We had decided to organise this year's meeting in Sendai so that both Japanese and Korean Bishops could visit the disaster affected area to share our prayer for victims together.

The meeting started with report by Fr. Kanda, the secretary general of a team of the All Japan Support Project for Sendai Diocese, on the relief operation by entire Catholic Church in Japan.  Catholic Church of Korea was one of the very first Catholic Communities to send us messages of solidarity and also donation for victims.  Bishop Hiraga of Sendai expressed his gratitude to Korean Bishops.  Then there was also a report by Korean Bishops on the issue of the Four Major Rivers Project in Korea for which Korean Bishops have expressed their opposition.  After these reports, new Nuncio to Japan, Archbishop Joseph Chennoth joined with bishops for dinner.

For second day, there were lectures on accident in Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant by a lay specialist, and presentation on biological theology by Korean Theologian.  After lunch, bishops traveled to Ishinomaki by bus to offer prayer for victims and celebrateed Holy Eucharist in Ishinomaki Parish.  Nuncio led a prayer and Archbishop Ikenaga joined to offer flowers for victims on top of a hill overlooking entire town of Ishinomaki which had been hit badly by Tsunami. (Photo above)  During the Mass, Nuncio presented a Latin letter introducing him to Japanese Bishops written by Cardinal Secretary of State.

Prior to the travel to Ishinomaki, Nuncio made a courtesy call to the Mayor of Sendai.  I joined him to meet the Mayor.  I was happy to be there because the Mayor praised the operation of Caritas Japan and show her appreciation to Catholic Community in Japan and all over the world.

Today, after the meeting was concluded, Japanese Bishops made a message public on the issue of Nuclear Power Generation.  The message is against the Nuclear Power Generation and asking for immediate end for it to preserve life which is a gift from God.  Bishops said that it is a moral issue and we have to choose a way to be responsible to all the creature which have been entrusted to us by God.  Also we have to fulfill our moral obligation for future generation.  We can not make nuclear waste which we can not handle as our legacy for future generation.  It is immoral.

The message will be translated into English soon.  Mean time you may read this article in UCAN.

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