Oct 3, 2011

President Aquino visited Ishinomaki

On 26 September, President Benigno Aquino of Philippines visited city of Ishinomaki in Sendai diocese.  Ishinomaki is one of many coastal cities which was hit by Tsunami on 11 March.  The president was met by the city mayor and taken around to see the disaster hit area of the city.  Then he was taken to Catholic Parish in Ishinomaki where more than 170 Filipinos were waiting for him together with the parish priest, Fr. Aizu of Sendai diocese.

The president was welcomed by kids of Ishinomaki Catholic Kindergarten and escorted by Fr. Aizu to a KG hall.  There he delivered speech to gathering Filipinos from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima to encourage them to overcome this difficult time in Japan after the disaster.  Majority of these Filipinos have invited to come to Japan to be married with Japanese.  Before the disaster happened,  many of them could not reach Catholic Church since they had to struggle hard everyday including Sundays to support their new families in Japan.  Majority of those family members are not Catholics or Christians.  As wives and mothers of these families in Japan, it was difficult them to take time to come to Church on Sundays.  So, according to Fr. Aizu, the parish priest, he did not know there were so many resident Filipinos in the area till 11 March this year.  However, after the disaster, Filipino mothers started to gather at the parish since they could find peace in their mind and heart only in Catholic Church.  Immediately after the disaster, as Fr. Aizu realised there were so many Filipinos around, he started to organise parishioners to support them and also respond to the needs of Filipino community.

The president even spent more than 20 minuets in private with Fr. Aizu to listen to the real situation of Filipino community in the area.  Sendai diocese is preparing to support these migrant catholics who were affected by the disaster by sending a pastoral team which includes Filipino priest to the area.

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