Apr 21, 2012

Spring has arrived in Niigata

Japan is an archipelago stretching from north to south and it is quite long.  Last week I was in Okinawa for the Catholic Volunteer Association as I have mentioned in the post below, I enjoyed almost summer weather of Okinawa with the highest of 27 degrees Celsius.  Then I returned to Niigata to join my diocesan priests for an overnight trip to Onsen (hot spring) for Easter celebration.  There was heavy accumulation of snow in mountain side of Niigata.  Cherry blooms are seasonal feature to declare that winter has finished and spring has began in Japan.  Although the cherry blooms are already completed in Tokyo area, it has just started in Niigata.  The local meteorological agency declared yesterday that cherry bloom has finally arrived Niigata.

Photo above is the Niigata Catholic Cathedral seen through cherry blossom on 20 April.   Photo below is clearing accumulated snow in Yamakoshi town in Niigata on 17 April.

Major seminarians studying in the Tokyo campus of the Japan National Catholic Seminary together with their formators are visiting Niigata area from 24, Tuesday, to 27, Friday.  Seminarians in Tokyo are the first and second year of Philosophy and Deacons.  All together 30 of them will visit Sado island for 2 days and make pilgrimage to the memorial of martyrdom of 100 Christians in Sado.  Then they will return to Niigata on 26, Thursday.  There will be a Mass in Niigata Catholic Cathedral Church with seminarians at 5 pm on 26 which will be presided by myself and will be followed by BBQ party with parishioners.  You are welcome to join us for both Mass and party.

As for pilgrimage to Sado, there will be another one for everyone in the diocese to visit the memorial of martyrdom of Sado on 12 and 13 May.  However, you have to register with your parish by tomorrow, 22 April, and it will cost you JPY 20,000.  You may also contact Mr. Ichikawa of Aoyama Parish who is the chairperson of laity council of the Niigata district. You may refer to the official homepage of the Niigata diocese in this link and may find e-mail address of Mr. Ichikawa at the bottom of the announcement.

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