Jan 9, 2012


On the day of feast of Epiphany, which is on Sunday in Japan, 5 people received the Sacrament of Confirmation in OMOTEMCHI Parish in Nagaoka, Niigata.  The Confirmation supposed to be done in December last year, however, heavy snow fall in Sapporo prevented me to come back to Niigata after the dedication Mass of a new chapel of Kitahiroshima Parish in Hokkaido.  So I was forced to postpone the visit of Nagaoka till 8 January.  Since the parish priest, Fr. Takahashi and his assistants, Fr. Ferdy, SVD, and Fr.Lorenzo, SVD, are in charge of 3 parishes, namely Omotemachi, Fuluzumi and Tokamachi, those confirmed yesterday came from all these 3 parishes.

Also the crucifix which has been relayed through parishes in the diocese to commemorate 100th anniversary of the establishment of Niigata diocese has arrived in Nagaoka from Sanjo during the Mass yesterday.  More than 10 parishioners with their parish priest, Fr. Ishiguro from Sanjo brought the crucifix to Omotemachi and handed it over to the congregation of Omotemachi.  It will stay with them for 2 weeks before moving to Aoyama parish.  After the Mass, a humble tea party was held in a parish hall so that 3 communities, Omotemachi, Fukuzumi and Sanjo, have enough chance to know each other better.  As the crucifix come with a note book and each parish communities are supposed to complete 2 pages with messages to rest of the diocese, members of Omotemachi already started to fill in a huge space of the note book with their messages.

In order to deepen our faith in this occasion of the centenary of the diocese, we should have organised a pilgrimage to visit all the parish communities in the diocese by ourselves.  Our Church is the pilgrim church and our life itself is also a journey. As the Lumen Gentium 48 of Vat II says that  "the Church will attain its full perfection only in the glory of heaven," our life itself is also a journey and pilgrimage.  A journey is always characterised with uncertainty.  We do not know what will happen next and we will never be able to attain the perfect goal by ourselves.  So going to pilgrimage reminds us of the meaning of our lives as journey.  Unfortunately it is not easy to organise real walking travel as pilgrimage in our situation but, instead of ourselves, the crucifix which is the One unite us under the same faith is going around for pilgrimage of the diocese.  So it is not the one or two weeks event in parishes to accommodate the crucifix in their chapels.  We just spend a day to carry it to next station but through that experience we should join entire journey of pilgrimage together with the crucifix and with our brothers and sisters in the diocese.    

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