May 14, 2012

Sado pilgrimage

The laity council of Niigata district organised a pilgrimage to Sado island over the weekend to the 100 Christian martyrs tomb in the island.  More than 50 people, mostly from parishes in Niigata city, joined the pilgrimage with Fr. Yamagashira, the district superior, Fr. Ohtaki, the diocesan chancellor and myself.  Parish in Sado is not so big but majority of the parishioners joined the group for Saturday evening meal and Sunday Mass with their parish priest, Fr. Kawasaki.  At the same time, parishioners of Naoetsu led by their pastor, Hubert Nerskamp, ofm, traveled with centenary anniversary crucifix for the diocese to hand it over to Sado parish.

The pilgrimage was organised as one of activities of Niigata diocesan centenary celebration.  We left Niigata at 9:30 am on Saturday by a ferry boat to Sado island.  It was a rough ride on Saturday for 2 and half hours.  Upon arrival, we were taken to the history museum and Sado gold mine museum.  Sado island used to be a quite famous gold mining island and number of criminals, including political one and also persecuted Christians were among the workers almost 400 years ago.  In early 17th century under the prohibition law by the then government, almost 100 Christians were executed in the mine and buried at the mountain top of Nakayama Toge.  We now call the place "Kirishitan Duka" or 100 Christian tomb.

Mass was offered at the tomb under beautiful May blue sky.

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