Mar 25, 2011

Japan Earthquake 6: Bishops met in Tokyo

There was an extraordinary meeting of Bishops in Japan yesterday to discuss about our response to the recent disaster.  The meeting was held in Tokyo and 7 bishops managed to attend.  Unfortunately 2 bishops from the most affected dioceses, Sendai and Saitama, could not join the meeting so that I had to brief other bishops on the situation of the affected area and responses of Caritas Japan and two dioceses within past two weeks.  Bishops made resolution to work together and put our maximum effort to support Sendai and Saitama diocese.  Especially for the most affected diocese, Sendai, bishops asked me to play a role of liaison between Bishop Hiraga and the Bishops' Conference since I have been involved in the relief operation already as the president of Caritas Japan.  Sedani diocese is spread into quite a vast territory from north to south.  Catholic communities in Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures constitute Sendai diocese and they have already began their own activities to support local victims.  I may have to support Fr. Komatsu, who is in charge of Sendai diocese support center to organise all these activities so that each player may get enough attention and support to continue long-term activities.

Also during the meeting, several bishops complained that there are too many fund-raising going on at this moment and their purpose are confusing.  So we made a clear distinction of 4 different fund-raising activities of Catholic Church at this moment.

  1. Caritas Japan receives donation for activities to support victims of the disaster in general.
  2. Sendai diocese receives donation to rebuild Churches and Church facilities and to support members of Catholic community.
  3. Saitama diocese receives donation for supporting victims in the diocese.
  4. Catholic Tokyo International Center (CTIC) receives donation to support victims or evacuees among foreign residents.

Please refer to the link (Home Page of the Bishops' Conference) for more information on the disaster relief in English.

As I have mentioned before, I believe, a fund raised by Caritas Japan will be, and already has been, utilised for our activities in general to support victims of the disaster.  Therefore, assisting the Sendai Diocese Support Center is one of these activities and is NOT only activities of Caritas Japan. Caritas Japan has already assisted number of applications from other dioceses for shelter programs.  Each diocese have their own contact person for Caritas activities, though titles vary in each diocese, and they will consult with Caritas Japan office to find out possibilities to assist certain program of supporting victims in respective dioceses.

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