Nov 8, 2009

Catholic Teachers' workshop in Sendai

Last week on Friday and Saturday, the 24th workshop for Catholic Teachers in TOHOKU area was held in SHIRAYURI High School in Sedani. All together 130 teachers from 11 Catholic Schools in the 7 prefectures which has been divided into 2 dioceses, Sendai and Niigata, attended the two-day workshop on the theme " Pass the Catholic spirit to Our Students". As the head of dioceses, Bishop Hiraga of Sendai and I participated the workshop while Bishop Mizobe of Takamatsu was invited as a main speaker on the theme.

Out of 11 schools, we have 2 of them in Niigata diocese, Seirei in Akita and Seishin in Niigata. Though the majority of the participants were from Shirayuri High, the host school, each school had sent 5 to 6 teachers including several head teachers to the workshop knowing maintaining the Catholic identity in their school is crucial factor for their future survival as Catholic schools. First and most, number of kids are decreasing in Japan drastically. Then vocation crisis in most of the religious orders resulting decreasing number of the religious presence in these Catholic schools. For instance, not only Sisters are no more teaching or working in Seishin High Shool in Niigata, even the administration of the school has been handed over to the secular corporation. I have been granting permission to the school to be called the Catholic since I am in the board and the administration had promised to maintain Catholic identity in the school including maintaining regular religion classes.

The workshop started with several open classes followed by the talk by Bishop Mizobe. I attended the Religious Music Class for Senior High 3rd grade students. The class was preparation for Hallelujah Chorus during the Christmas celebration for which entire student body of the Shirayuri participates. Photo above is from the class.

Second day was dedicated for small group discussion and closing Mass said by Bishop Hiraga while I preached a sermon. They will meet for yet another workshop in 2 years time in Hachinohe.


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