Apr 27, 2015

From Lent to Easter, 2015 (part one)

Breaking a spell of silence for a while, for more than a month, I am feeling obliged to continue to my chronicle of events in my diocese and also in Catholic Church in Japan. I was too busy to do both Japanese and English blogs throughout month of March as I was overwhelmed by my busy schedule.

On 14 and 15 March, I went to Shizuoka Catholic Church for two-day Lenten Recollection for parishioners of the Shizuoka area organised jointly by Caritas Japan and the parish.

In fact it was immediately after the Caritas Asia Regional Conference in Bangkok on 11 and 12 March in which I was re-elected as the President of Caritas Asia. Then I rushed back to Niigata on 13 March to preside over the evening prayer service with the Eucharistic Adoration at our Cathedral in Niigata for which Holy Father invited all the Cathedral in the world to organise such day of prayer of the Lent. Then following morning, I travelled to Shizuoka.

The parish of Shizuoka has peculiar parishioners, as far as I am concerned, my mother and a family of my younger brother. My mother is still strong at the age of 84 but could not join the recollection, maybe it would make her miserable to listen to her own son preaching.

The recollection was the continuation of Caritas campaign against hunger and, as I did so in Osaka a few weeks ago, I spoke about the reality of poverty and hunger in the world and what we could do to eradicate hunger by 2025. As Holy Father once mentioned in his message to the Caritas campaign, there are enough food to feed all people on the Earth. However, we are wasting one third of total produce for quite selfish reasons.

Then on 16 March in the evening, I was in Nagasaki, one thousand kilometer south west of Shizuoka, to join the celebration of 150th anniversary of discovery of the Hidden Christians. There might be no need to repeat the famous story of discovery of Japanese catholics at Ohura Catholic Church on 17 March, 1865 after 250 years of persecution period. At that time missionaries and priests were arrested and executed with Japanese Christians. The very last remaining priest was executed in 1644. No priest was left behind in Japan and several attempts to send Missionaries to sneak into Japan all failed.

On 17 March, several Mass were celebrated in Ohura Catholic Church, itself is the National Treasure of Japan, and 10 am Mass was designated as the official commemoration Mass celebrated by all Japanese Bishops with Papal delegate, Cardinal Quevedo.

I was interviewed by Asianews, the international Catholic news site by PIME missionaries, and you may find the article on this link of the site of PIME Asianews.

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