Dec 29, 2011

Otsuchi volunteer base completed

On 13 December, more than 60 people including 3 bishops, Bishop Hiraga of Sendai, Bishop Hamaguchi of Oita and myself, and more than 10 priests gathered together in a former business hotel in town of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture to celebrate opening of a volunteer base for Nagasaki ecclesiastical province.  Bishop Hamaguchi, who is the one in charge of volunteer operation of Nagasaki ecclesiastical province, was a main celebrant of the dedication Mass of the volunteer base which used to be a business hotel owned by a Catholic from Morioka city.  On 11 March, town of Otsuchi was one of so many coastal communities which were hit by massive Tsunami.  The town lost more than 800 people including their town mayor and still more than 500 people are missing. 

The business hotel was also hit by tsunami and, though first and second floor were submerged into water, building structure remained intact.  So it was used by volunteers from nearby Kamaishi Catholic Church as center of activities immediately after the disaster.  Then when Japanese bishops decided to ask Nagasaki ecclesiastical province with 5 dioceses to concentrate their relief activities in central and north coastal area of Iwate, the owner of the hotel, Mr. Michimata, offered the building to be used by the Nagasaki team as their base of activities. 

Archbishop Takami of Nagasaki appointed Fr. Furuki, SDB, who had been an assistant secretary general of Nagasaki diocese to be in charge of the project to rehabilitate the hotel and make it ready to be a base of volunteer activities.  It took longer than usual since it was quite difficult to find professional assistance to rehabilitate the building as contractors are busy helping victims.

The base is now standing out of no-where.  It used to be surrounded by many buildings but today it is standing almost alone.  Fr. Furuki wrote once in his report that when evening comes the base stands in darkness as torch light of hope since it is only a very few building with light at this moment.

I joined the dedication Mass with Mr. Tadokoro, the director general of Caritas Japan.  Caritas Japan is fully supporting the project and will continue to be with volunteers of Otsuchi base.

Dec 28, 2011

Christmas greetings

Merry Christmas!

Sorry for this belated Christmas greetings.  I had a wonderful Christmas celebration with parishioners of Niigata Cathedral.  I presided over 24th 8pm Mass and 25th 10am Mass.  It was terribly cold in Niigata but many people including quite a number of non-Christians joined the community for the celebration.

Any how, I wish all of you a very merry Christmas. First and most , on behalf of Niigata and Sapporo dioceses, I would like to thank all of you for your dedicated service and contribution to Church activities throughout the year 2011, especially your willingness to do something for victims of March 11 disaster.  Thank you so much. As for supporting these victims, we have to continue to remember them in our prayer and maintain our willingness to be with them.  Next year, 2012, Niigata diocese is celebrating 100 anniversary of establishment.  So I ask you to pray for Niigata diocese.  Also kindly pray for Sapporo diocese so that they may get their new bishop as soon as possible.

Then on behalf of Caritas Asia, I would like to thank all of you for your wonderful cooperation and contribution for activities of Caritas Asia throughout year 2011 which, we may say, a year of
continuous natural calamities.  I hope and pray that the light which will be shinning in darkness tonight as we celebrate the mystery of incarnation of Word of God may reach all the people affected by these disasters through our work and prayer.

Also on behalf of Caritas Japan, I would like to thank you sincerely for your kind words and contribution for victims of March 11 disaster in Japan.  We are all grateful to your significant ways to show your solidarity with us. Kindly continue to remember us in your prayer.

Caritas Asia finally appointed Mr. Eleazar Gomez from Philippines and a member of NASSA as our next regional coordinator.  He will take his post by 1 February in Bangkok.  Fr. Bonnie Mendes, our present regional coordinator, will be with the office in Bangkok till the end of February. I welcome Mr. "Zar" Gomez sincerely and thank Fr. Bonnie for his dedicated service for all of us.  I am sure we all have more chance to work with Fr. Bonnie in Caritas activities.

I wish you a Happy New Year.


Bishop Isao Kikuchi, SVD
President, Caritas Asia & Caritas Japan
Bishop of Niigata
Apostolic administrator of Sapporo

Dec 20, 2011

New regional coordinator for caritas asia appointed

Yesterday morning, on 19 December, the regional commission of Caritas Asia met in the office of CA in Bangkok to conduct an interview with 3 shortlisted candidates for the post of regional coordinator of Caritas Asia.

After the interview and due discussion, the regional commission has come to a decision to choose one of candidates as next regional coordinator.

I am happy to announce that Mr. Eleazar Gomez, known as "Zar", is our next regional coordinator to succeed Fr. Bonnie Mendes who generously agreed to extend his term of office to offer his service to Caritas Asia.

Mr. Eleazar Gomez is from Philippines and currently working with NASSA, Caritas Philippines. After due process, we expect him to take his post by 1st February, 2012.  Fr. Bonnie will be with us until the end of February.

I would like to thank Fr. Bonnie (photo above) for his generosity to work for us for much longer than what had been expected. I am sure we will have more chance to work with Fr. Bonnie in Caritas programs. I welcome Mr. Gomez and pray for abundant blessings of Almighty Father over his new job as our regional coordinator.

Dec 12, 2011

The Niigata centenary crucifix relay got rolling

As you may have already read about it on my previous post on 27 November, to commemorate 100 anniversary of establishment of Niigata diocese in 2012, a crucifix relay had commenced on 20 November in Niigata Cathedral.  Two crucifix had been blessed and sent out to go around all parishes in the diocese and will return to the Cathedral on 7 and 8 October next year.  Actual relay got rolling on 4 December when 25 parishioners of Niigata Cathedral led by Fr. Ebe, the parish priest, made fraternal visit to neighboring Hanazono parish with one of two crucifix.  The crucifix was brought into the Hanazono chapel at the beginning of Mass by Mr. Saito of Niigata Cathedral and placed next to the main alter.  Then Fr. Fernando, a parish priest of Hanazono, blessed the crucifix and celebrated Mass with Fr. Ebe which was followed by a tea party.  One of the main purpose of this relay is to develop mutual and fraternal relationship among Catholic communities in the diocese so that this kind of actual exchange of members are very important.  The second crucifix is traveling to Sanjo on 18 December.

The crucifix is travelling with a note book (Photo above).  Every one of the parish community where the crucifix are stopping are welcome to leave your own comment.  It will be displayed at the end of the relay during the centennial diocesan congress on 7 and 8 October in Niigata.