Feb 23, 2014

General Assembly of Japanese Bishops completed

Catholic Bishops of Japan has just completed their general assembly in Tokyo on 20 Feb with a Mass to commemorate the first anniversary of election of Pope Francis in the Jesuit Parish at the Sophia University, Tokyo. Archbishop Okada of Tokyo who is the president of the conference presided over the Mass while Archbishop Takami of Nagasaki delivered homily. Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Chennot delivered his message in perfect Japanese. Bishops are to meet again in Sendai on 10 March to pray for victims of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami in Sendai Cathedral at 6pm in Holy Eucharist. Apostolic Nuncio will also join the Sendai Mass. No photo of the Mass as I was also con-celebrating.

During the general assembly which started on Monday 17 Feb, Bishops decided, among others, to continue relief efforts mobilising entire communities of the Japanese Catholic Church in the disaster hit area for another 3 years. Already entire Catholic communities in Japan have been engaged to the action through the respective ecclesiastical provinces. Three Provinces, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagasaki have established volunteer bases in the area and have been sending volunteers while Caritas Japan has been supplying necessary materials and funds for the activities. These disaster hit area are,in fact, vast area but all under one diocese, Sendai.  So that Sendai diocese under Bishop Hiraga is in charge of entire operation in the area.

Bishops also adopted a new prayer to be used in entire Catholic Church in Japan to pray for victims and for quick recovery of the disaster hit area. At this moment, it is only in Japanese.

Japanese Bishops got unusual international attention recently because of a report sent to Rome. Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan have published a report in preparation of Synod on Family in October. You may read the contents of the report in this link in English. It is quite accurate account of Japanese Catholics in regard to their understandings of Catholic teachings on marriage and family. It seems not so many bishops' conferences have made this report public but it would be worth to know the situation in a mission territory like Japan.

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