Jan 20, 2018

Starting anew again in Tokyo

As you have noticed obviously that I could not renew the posts of this blog for quite sometime. Well, I am shifting to publish much more from Facebook recently and have reduced the entry to this blog. You may also follow my Facebook entries as I will publish most of posts in both English and Japanese at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/bpisao

On September 20, 2017, I celebrated 13th anniversary of my Episcopal ordination as Bishop of Niigata. Then I was called by the Apostolic Nuncio in Tokyo on 12 October only to be told that I was on transfer to Tokyo. What a surprise! Tokyo archdiocese has never had a religious as their bishop before and there were numerous candidates for the post to succeed Archbishop Peter Okada. I am not from the diocese and have never worked there.

As a religious bishop with Vow of Obedience to Holy Father, I had no reason to refuse the appointment so I humbly accepted it asking protection and guidance of Holy Spirit. Holy Father appointed me as Archbishop of Tokyo on 25 October and I was installed on 16 December last.

Thanks to my past experience as a missionary in Ghana, Archbishop Palmer Buckle of Accra, Bishop Joseph Afrifah of Koforidua and Bishop Gabriel Kumordji of Keta Akatsi traveled all the way from Ghana to join the installation Mass. Caridnal Andrew of Seoul and number of Bishops from other countries were present. I am grateful to all of these brother bishops to gave me encouragement. I am also very much grateful to the President of Ghana who graced the occasion with his message through the ambassador of Ghana to Japan.

Now I have just started anew in Tokyo. I do not know many of more than 80 diocesan priests of the diocese. I even do not have any idea of the location of parishes. I really have to start from a scratch.

At this moment, what I have been doing is listening. I will call very first priest senate meeting on Monday, 22. I have already met with the Diocesan Pastoral Council but I think we have to work out and make clear their specific duty in the diocese.  There would be no major transfers of priests this Easter. I may have to do one or two but I still need time to know people before making any major decisions. Your suggestion on the administration of the Archdiocese is welcome only if you are member of the Tokyo Archdiocese.

I will always keep my episcopal motto in my heart which is "Unity in Diversity" As Pope Francis emphasizes no one should be excluded, no one should be forgotten from our diocesan community. Each one has their own unique role to play in evangelization of the diocesan community which is a body of One Christ. Having diversity itself is not so difficult as we are all unique. But to unite these differences would require a bit of efforts of all. Unity would not come from our outfit. Identical thinking or words or deeds would not guarantee the unity which I have been talking about. Only personal encounter with the Jesus would. The same Christ. The same word of God. We have to have our own story of encounter with Jesus and that would unite us as one. Deepning our faith would be indispensable in the mission of the Archdiocese. We deepen our faith, though it sounds quite private efforts to make, not only for our own merit but for the unity of the diocesan community. Our belief and piety is not only for may salvation but for the sake of the diocesan community. That is why I need all of you to contribute through your own uniqueness whatever you can do.

Finally, I humbly ask all of you to continue to pray for me, not from tomorrow, not from later day but from this moment.