Jun 16, 2012

National Sendai Support Meeting by CBCJ

Japanese Bishops Conference (CBCJ) has organised a meeting of representatives from all 16 dioceses and from male and female religious congregations in Japan to share information and ideas on the rehabilitation effort of Sendai Diocese after the March 11 disaster.  This meeting in Sendai on 13 June at Sendai Cathedral was the second meeting of this kind to be organized by the Bishops' Conference Sendai Support Desk which I am in charge of.  

More than 60 people joined the 3 day event in the diocese.   First 2 days were dedicated for on-site tours by participants. Participants were divided into several groups to visit volunteer bases in the diocese.   There are 3 volunteer bases run by Sendai diocese, Kamaishi, Yonekawa and Ishinomaki.  Also 3 ecclesiastical provinces, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagasaki also run their own volunteer bases within Sendai diocese in Fukushima, Ohunato and Otsuchi respectively and Sapporo diocese has one in Miyako.

After the 2-day tour of the disaster affected area which gave the participants deep insight of what had been going on the area and with local people, then they gathered in Sendai Cathedral in the morning of third day to listen to the sharing of those who have been working in several volunteer bases ans also number of local Catholic leaders who have been organising their own local NGOs to know the realities and needs of people. After lunch, Mass was celebrated with many more people joined from the diocese. The cathedral was packed. Bishop Hiraga of Sendai presided over the Mass with 3 other bishops, Bishop Suwa, Bishop Hamaguchi and myself.  I gave a homily.

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