May 19, 2012

Caritas meeting finished in Rome

A group photo of the representative council of Caritas Internationalis taken on 18 May in front of its head office in Rome.

As it has been made public, the revised statute and internal rules have been granted definite approval from Holy See on 2 May with an official decree by Cardinal Bertone.

It all started in 2004 when Holy Father JPII granted Canonical Legal Status to Caritas Internationalis.  Since then, revision of the statute and internal rules have been a priority task for both Caritas and the secretariat of State.  In 2011, general assembly of Caritas approved the revised text of the statute and internal rules and submitted it to the Holy See for approval "ad experimentum."

Then on 2 May, it was made public that with certain changes and additions, the Holy See finally granted definite approval for the statute and internal rules.

Now because of nature of additions and changes made between the last assembly to this approval, quite negative image has been created over the intention of the Holy See especially in the provision of Papal appointment of 3 members to the Executive Board, creation of support committee to Secretary General which will be appointed by Cor Unum and giving quite a many task to supervise Caritas activities by Cor Unum.

Though I am also quite surprised to know about these changes and felt that, to be honest, Caritas activities were now under control of Holy See, however, after I listened to the explanation on their intention for these changes made by an official from the secretariat of state during the representative council, I now am able to say with confidence that Holy See has good intention and supportive will to assist Caritas activities because it is essential action of the Church and also brought Caritas into Vatican.  As a juridical entity in the system of the Holy See, Caritas Internationalis has to fulfill certain obligation to safeguard its own image and dignity and also of the Church.

With this definite approval, now Caritas Internationalis is able to act and speak for the Church with certain authority and execute its activities to represent and manifest the spirit of charity of Catholic Church.  I hope and pray that Holy Spirit may guide this new way of being Caritas, especially newly created Executive board which will meet more than 4 times a year to make final decisions on the direction of activities of Caritas.

May 14, 2012

Sado pilgrimage

The laity council of Niigata district organised a pilgrimage to Sado island over the weekend to the 100 Christian martyrs tomb in the island.  More than 50 people, mostly from parishes in Niigata city, joined the pilgrimage with Fr. Yamagashira, the district superior, Fr. Ohtaki, the diocesan chancellor and myself.  Parish in Sado is not so big but majority of the parishioners joined the group for Saturday evening meal and Sunday Mass with their parish priest, Fr. Kawasaki.  At the same time, parishioners of Naoetsu led by their pastor, Hubert Nerskamp, ofm, traveled with centenary anniversary crucifix for the diocese to hand it over to Sado parish.

The pilgrimage was organised as one of activities of Niigata diocesan centenary celebration.  We left Niigata at 9:30 am on Saturday by a ferry boat to Sado island.  It was a rough ride on Saturday for 2 and half hours.  Upon arrival, we were taken to the history museum and Sado gold mine museum.  Sado island used to be a quite famous gold mining island and number of criminals, including political one and also persecuted Christians were among the workers almost 400 years ago.  In early 17th century under the prohibition law by the then government, almost 100 Christians were executed in the mine and buried at the mountain top of Nakayama Toge.  We now call the place "Kirishitan Duka" or 100 Christian tomb.

Mass was offered at the tomb under beautiful May blue sky.

May 5, 2012

Seminar on revised immigration law in JPN

Immigration law and related regulations of Japanese government have been revised and will be in force on 9 July this year. Though the revision was made in July 2009, adequate information has not been disseminated among expatriate residents in, especially, rural area like our diocese. So there will be a seminar organised by the Catholic Commission of Japan for Migrants, Refugees and People on the Move in several cities in Japan. And one will be organised in our diocese in Takada on 2 June.

The seminar will start at 1pm to 3pm in Catholic Takada Church. You have to register by 27 May to join the seminar, if you wish to attend. Please refer to the link below.  You may contact Takada Catholic Church directly to register also.  See this link.

Photo above is beautiful girls of Terao Catholic Church in Niigata city on 29 April after Sunday Mass.  Two of them, one in extreme right and one in extreme left received their first communion during the Mass.  A lady in front of me is a volunteer Catechist of the parish who prepared girls for the sacrament.  Congratulations.  

May 4, 2012

Medical consultation for foreign residents in Niigata

There will be an annual medical assistance event for non-Japanese residents in Niigata city on 10 June.  The event which is called "The Fifth Medical Consultation Room for Foreign Residents" will be held at Crosspal Niigata Community Center (2086-3 Ishizue-cho-dori Chuo-ku, Niigata city.  It is close to Bandai-bashi) on 10 June from 10 am to 3:30 pm.

There will be several free check-ups including Mammography for breast cancer.  As for the detail see this link or this page. (In case you need blood test, then you have to book it with the committee by 14 May and have to go to a designated clinic between 21 to 26 May in order to receive the result on 10 June during the event.  Detail, please refer to the link above.)

The event was initiated by Dr. Fukushima and other Catholic Doctors in Niigata city 5 years ago in Niigata Cathedral Church.  As they had to ask for assistance from other medical staff in the city, they felt necessity to create a committee to involve more help from general public and also local government.  However, the annual event still maintains Catholic spirit as their base.  So you are welcome to take advantage of this medical assistance in Niigata.

Photo above is taken by Mr. Kawasaki of Sado parish last weekend when members of the Niigata district Laity Council had visited the "Kirishitan-zuka", the memorial site of Christian Martyrdom, in Sado island, 2 hours ferry ride from Niigata port, to prepare for May 12 and 13 pilgrimage organised by the Council as part of commemorative activities of the centenary of the Niigata Diocese.  Well, it seems as if the chairman of the council was tickling Jesus.  Thanks to the effort of Seminarians from Tokyo the other day and also for this exercise, the memorial site has been well prepared for the pilgrimage.