Oct 4, 2009

Takada's centennial celebration

Christ the King Parish in TAKADA, Niigata prefecture, celebrated the 100 anniversary of its foundation yesterday. I presided over the celebration Mass and Archbishop Alberto Bottari de Castello, Apostolic Nuncio, graced the occasion by concelebrated the Mass. More than 450 people, though some of them could not get into the chapel and joined the Mass from a class room through live telecast, gathered together to celebrate. It was in 1909, an SVD missionary, Fr.Franz Friese, traveled more than 300 km by a bicycle from Kanazawa to Takada to establish a new mission. Within 2 years, in 1911, he managed to baptise several people in Takada. There is no doubt to say that he had faced difficult situations as a foreigner just to live in a rural area in Japan a hundred years ago, not mentioning his difficulty to proclaim Jesus as Christ in traditional Buddhist area.

Since 1957, Takada parish has been under the care of OFM missionaries from Italy. Present pastor is an Italian OFM, Fr.Mario Canducci. After the Mass, during a big celebration party in a nearby wedding hall, Fr.Mario exhibit his wonderful talent of music by singing Santa Lucia with a Lady's Choir who worn choir robes from 45 years ago. There were wonderful music by a 4-brother's band and dance by Filipino mothers. Thank you everyone. It was a wonderful celebration and you did very well.

We would like to give thanks to all these missionaries who dedicated their lives to proclaim the Gospel in Takada in spite of difficult situation. We also give thanks to all these people who supported the activities and life of missionaries. We have to learn from their enthusiasm since we are doing our mission based on their heritage which has been telling us that we should not afraid to proclaim the Good News though we are facing difficulties.

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