Mar 27, 2011

Catholic Youths Pray for victims

Today, on the Third Sunday of Lent, number of Catholic Churches in Japan hosted a prayer meeting titled "What we can do now,"  organised by a voluntary gathered youth groups to pray for victims of recent earthquake and tsunami.  In Niigata Cathedral at 3 pm, around 17 people gathered to pray together despite of short notice.  Prayer meeting was organised according to the style of Taize with lot of meditative songs and candles.  One of their leaders in Niigata played organ and the other played a guitar to lead prayers.  I do believe in power of prayer and, thus, would like to ask youth groups to continue to pray for the victims and organise such a prayer meeting again and again. Recovery and rehabilitation process will take time and your prayers are needed.

I have been to Yamagata on Friday to meet a group from Osaka led by Fr. Kanda to discuss about further plan to support Sendai diocese for their relief operation.  Fr. Kanda is well known to many as a priest with "a towel around his neck" while he was taking a leading role in rescue and rehabilitation activities in Takatori after the massive earthquake in Kobe in 1995.  He visited Matsushima area near Sendai to visit Tsunami hit area where the vice mayor of the town used to work as a volunteer in Kobe during the rescue and rehabilitation operation.  As Bishops Conference had decided to support Sendai diocese as the "Team All Japan" and to appoint me as one in charge, Fr. Kanda and his team gave me several good suggestions.  So I asked one of them, a lay person, to remain in Sendai for a while to support Fr. Komatsu, the chancellor of the Sendai diocese, and make the needs analysis.  Then I have decided to call a meeting on 8 April in Sendai to discuss about long term plan to support Sendai diocese with several key players including Bishop Hiraga, Fr. Kanda and Fr. Narui, SVD, a director of Caritas Japan.  Meantime, of course, Caritas Japan will continue its operation in Sendai to assist the Sendai Diocese Support Center. 

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