Jul 2, 2010

Sapporo diocese priests assembly

The beginning of last month, June, priests assembly or rally for Niigata was held in Akita for 3 days.  Now it is the turn of Sapporo diocese and 41 priests and a brother working in the Sapporo diocese had gathered together in Hanakawa, an hour drive from central Sapporo, for their annual priests assembly for 3 days from 28 to 30 June.  There were diocesan priests, Maryknoll missionaries, Paris missionaries, Jesuit and Franciscans.  In fact, territory wise, Franciscans are taking care of majority of territories of the dioceses.  Diocesan priests who are not so many in numbers are much more concentrated in the Sapporo area.

I joined the gathering as the apostolic administrator and also as a lecture.  On the second day, the feast day of St Peter and Paul, I gave an talk for 2 hours on my experience in Ghana and Rwanda as a missionary.  The chairman of the priest council, Fr. Katsuya, had asked me to give a talk on building  the Small Christian Community since I had translated a book "The Small Christian Communities" a few years ago and was a member of formation team in Nagoya diocese.  However, my experience as the member of that formation team in Nagoya and as a bishop of Niigata, I now have other idea to build a parish community in Japanese Church.  So I just shared my experience in my parish in Ghana and talked about the basics of building community which we can learn from foreign assistance activity of Church through Caritas.  I have been working for Caritas Japan since 1995 and, at this moment, serving as the president for the 2nd term.  My experience in Caritas tells me that the assitance given by Caritas is quite connected with community building from which Church may learn a lot.  

Then in the evening of 29, we invited Bishop Jinushi, the emeritus bishop of Sapporo who was celebrating his names day for Peter, to have BBQ dinner together.  Photo above is Bishop Jinushi receiving gift.  It was a very hot day.  They told me that usually in the end of June should be cool and fine, but for this year it was completely strange.

I flew from Sapporo to Tokyo on Wednesday to attend 2 meetings in the Bishops Conference on Thursday and I am in Sendai this evening.  I have to give a talk on Africa tomorrow at Sendai Shirayuri University for their adult education class.  Then I will drive down to Yonezawa.  Since 1st July is the feast day for Blessed 188 martyrs of Japan and 53 are from Yonezawa, we are going to have the memorial Mass in Yonezawa on Sunday at 11 am.  Come and join us in Hokusanbara, the place where 53 Blessed were martyred in 1629.

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