May 8, 2009

Groundbreaking ceremony at Kamo KG

Though it is already a delayed post for a few days, it might be interesting to note that we, Catholics in Japan, also do the Groundbreaking ceremony at the beginning of construction work. Shinto tradition has their own ceremony and that is very popular in Japan but we also have our own.

On 28 April, the Groundbreaking ceremony took place at Kamo city in order to bless the site for construction of Kamo Shirayuri Catholic Kindergarten. The ceremony was presided by myself and attended by the director of the KG, Fr. Koichiro Kamata of Niigata diocese, representatives of the staff of the KG and of the construction company, Shibata Kensetsu. The president and several staff members of the construction company are Catholic and they have been in charge of several diocesan buildings for past many years.

The ceremony of the blessing of the site was done, of course, by Catholic prayer and reading of the Bible, though the groundbreaking itself was done according to the Japanese tradition. So I took a sickle, made by wood, to cut grass symbolically for 3 times, Fr. Kamata took a wooden spade to give 3 strokes to small mound and the contractor took a wooden shovel to give, also 3 strokes to the mound.

Fr.Kamata had managed to build a half of the KG building a few years ago in Kamo. So this time he has managed to raise fund to complete the original building plan. Operating KG next to the parish has been considered as an effective mean to approach non-Christians for many years in Japan, especially in rural dioceses such as Niigata. Also working as directors of KG, priest can earn enough money to support their living. Therefore we have quite a number of KGs in the diocese.

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