Oct 31, 2012

Doubleheader Confirmation Mass@ Kashiwazaki & Tokamachi

On 21 October, Sunday, I made a pastoral visit of both Kashiwazaki and Tokamachi Parishes in Niigata Prefecture. City of Kashiwazaki is 80km southwest of Niigata city.  Then Tokamachi is 40km south of Kashiwazaki city.  Kashiwazaki city is famous for the Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant run by Tokyo Electricity Company.  By the way, Niigata prefecture has been provided electricity from Tohoku Electricity Company and not from Tokyo Electricity Company which operates this world biggest mega-nuclear power plant with 7 reactors.  Because of the accident after the March 11 disaster of the Fukushima plant, all these 7 reactors have come to a halt.

This Sunday was a kind of the "Doubleheader Confirmation Mass Sunday".   I celebrated Mass at Kashiwazaki at 9am and Tokamachi at 3 pm. In Kashiwazaki, 6 people were confirmed while 3 people were baptized and one confirmed in Tokamachi.

First two photos are from Kashiwazaki in which you may find a parish priest, Fr. Leo Bassi, ofm, who is 89 years old this year from Italy standing behind those who were confirmed.  Still keeping strong and active so that he prepares candidates for confirmation every year.  Majority of kids who received infant baptism stop coming to Church while they are in the Junior High School because of Sunday sports activities organised as part of School activities.  Japanese kids are busy even on Sundays for school activities though, officially, the weekends are designated as holidays in Japanese School System.  I should not be so critical about the present practice of this society but Japanese society has developed one of the best way to kill traditional religions which require faithful to come for regular worship during weekends.  Japanese traditional religion, such as Shinto, does not require their faithful to visit their shrine in regular basis as such. 

The photo above is in the chapel of Tokamachi after the Mass.  You may find a parish priest, Fr. Sato and also Fr. Chito Lorenzo, SVD, from Nagaoka parish supporting the day's activities.  Well,you may see from the photo so many faces from other countries, especially from Philippines in Tokamachi Catholic Community. They and their families are real hope for the future of our diocese not only in Tokamachi but in many other parishes.  I believe these so-called "migrant Catholics" in Japan are the modern missionaries sent by God, especially to the places where traditional Catholic mission activities could not reach out, which is villages in country side.  These Filipino in the photo came all the way to Japan to be wives of Japanese farmers and now they are mothers of so many kids.  Their husbands are also showing quite positive attitude towards the religions of their wives, Catholic, and some of them have been baptised already.  Thank God for his providential care for us.

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