Jun 20, 2015

Confirmation Mass@ Noshiro and Tsuchizaki in Akita

There were two pastoral visits with confirmation in Akita district recently. One in Noshiro Catholic Church on 7 June and the other in Tsuchizaki Catholic Church on 14 June.

Both churches are quite far away from Niigata. It took me more than 5 hours to reach Noshiro by my car and also another 5 hours to reach Tsuchizaki. Noshiro is more than 300 km north from Niigata and could be considered as the northern end of my diocese.

A few years ago when I visited Noshiro, then parish priest was happy to welcome me saying that there were many people in the Church for Sunday Mass because of my visit. Then as people were singing entrance hymn, I found only 10 people there. Surprised I asked the parish priest why he had said "many". Then he told me that he usually had only 4 or 5 people for Sunday Mass.  That is the reality of missionaries life in northern part of my diocese.

Today, the parish priest of Noshiro is Fr. Felix Lobo, SVD from India. As we started Mass on 7 June, the feast of Corpus Christi, there were more than 18 people including small kid whose crying voice was sounded like a hope for blight future of the Church community. And we had the sacrament of confirmation during the Mass. A mother of that kid received the sacrament.  After the Mass, everyone sat down at the table to enjoy lunch box together. Though the number of the community is very few, singing during the Mass was quite strong and full of joy.

Then on 14 June, I again visited Akita to go to Tsuchizaki. Tsuchizaki is the second parish in the City of Akita. Akita parish is the biggest community with more than 700 in my diocese. Tsuchizaki might have more than 100 members and we had 6 people received the sacrament of confirmation during the Mass.

Parish priest is Fr.Kotaro Iino, SVD. We went to the SVD minor seminary in Nagoya together more than 40 years ago.

Singing by the choir with special costume of Samurai after the Mass during the lunch at parish hall was quite unique but good.

Meantime on 13 June, Bishop Goro Matsuura, an auxiliary of Osaka has been installed as a Bishop of Nagoya. Kindly pray for Bishop Matsuura and also for retired Bishop of Nagoya, Bishop Junichi Nomura. (I could not join the installation Mass at Nunoike Catholic Church, the cathedral of Nagoya on 13 June as I had to give a talk to PTA of an catholic elementary school in Kyoto)

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