Jan 28, 2012

The 7th annual forum organised by the Conference of Religious Superiors@Osaka

The 7th annual forum of both men and women religious superiors working in Japan was held in Osaka on 16 January.  The annual event was organised jointly by Major Superiors' Conferences of Men and Women in Japan.  More than 130 people, majority of them are superiors of their respected congregations, as provincials or district superiors and number of Mother Superiors of local congregations, working in Japan, gathered in Umeda Catholic Church, which is now called "Sacra Familia" to exchange ideas on evengelization effort in Japan. Several bishops, including myself, had been invited to give inputs on the theme, "Evangelization seen from the view point of local Church;  Overcoming differences and work together". 
Bishop Matsuura of Osaka and Bishop Otsuka of Kyoto shared about their experiences in respected dioceses of team shared ministries. I was also invited to share about the experience of relief activities of Caritas Japan during the recent disaster in Tohoku. Fr. Kanda of Osaka also shared his experience of working with people in Kobe area after 1995 earthquake.

Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Japan, was also invited and he also shared his ideas on Mission of the Church in perfect Japanese language. (Photo above)
After the lunch break. Sr. Watanabe who has been involved in the team ministry in Kobe and Ms. Yamano who is in charge of Catholic Social Action Center in Kobe joined 3 bishops for a panel discussion the theme.
Bishops and religious are not in adversary relationship but both diocesan bishops and religious congregations have their own priorities in mission activities in the area and sometimes these priorities differ a bit, not in general direction but in actual practices.  Therefore it is quite important for both side to share ideas and try to find the way to work together.  Especially for those religious congregations which have been engaged with institutions such as schools and hospitals sometimes face difficulties to follow the priorities set by local bishops for the mission of the diocese in maintaining and running their institutions effectively. 

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