Several of our sisters made a pilgrimage to Nagasaki from the 16th-19th March to attend the commemorative mass for the 150th anniversary of the “Hidden Christians of Japan.”
Around 150 worshippers attended the mass at the Oura Cathedral, a national treasure that was built in 1864, shortly after the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled during the Edo Period (1603-1867), ended its seclusion policy.
The church was built mainly under the leadership of French missionary Bernard Petitjean and held its consecration ceremony in February 1865.
A month later, a group of Kakure Kirishitan (hidden Christians) appeared at the cathedral and announced their faith to the priest.
After the shogunate banned Christianity in Japan in 1612, Catholics practiced in secrecy for about 250 years. They were believed to have been wiped out under heavy persecution before they appeared at the Oura Cathedral.
The theme of the retreat was based on John 7:37~ [On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!].
During the two days of silence, the participants while watching an introductory DVD on the charisma of the congregation, talks and interviews, were made aware through the aid of the Holy Spirit as to their basic life’s calling.
We thank Fr. Hagiwara for his spiritual guidance and the sisters of the Koganei Holy Spirit retreat house for their help during the two days.
The Christmas candle service took place once again on Christmas Eve at Sakuramachi Hospital with carolers holding candles and visiting each ward. The patients’ faces shone in the light given off by the candles against the dimmed wards. It was truly an inspiring site.
Kiyose St. John’s Support Center celebrates Christmas with members of the Kiyose Church
The Missionary Sisters of St. John the Evangelist
On 23rd (Tuesday) December 2014, members of the Kiyose St. John’s Support Center held a Christmas party with members of the Catholic Kiyose Church. I would like to share a few of the wonderful memories of the day with you.
The support center is a day care center for those with intellectual handicaps. It was opened on 1st October 2013. Fr. Ito of the Kiyose Church opened the day with a prayer and then a short talk on Luke chapter 19 and its resemblance to the facility and its purpose.
Then it was down to the real purpose of the day’s gathering – the Christmas party with members of the Kiyose church. In addition to Fr. Ito, there was the Monma Gospel Family, children from the Sunday School and pianist Mrs. Fujisawa from the Church. There were also plenty of others to make up a rather large group.
Members of the center had been eagerly awaiting the event for quite some and had been rehearsing “Amen Hallelujah ” every day.
While the day was cold the sun showed its face. Members of the Sunday School played out the nativity while 6 grader Eguchi Kun played a piano solo. Mrs. Fujisawa followed with a turkish march on the piano. Mrs. Monma led the participants in “I Love You With the Love of the Lord” with everybody taking each others hands. Finally, accompanied by sign language, the group sang “Amen Hallelujah”. Then all enjoyed cake and refreshments. Actually, it was the same program as last year, but God left us a very big present.
Last year the members of the center and the church were new to each other so they were a little embarrashed and both couldn’t take each other hands. Furthermore, at refreshment time both sat separately. However, this year things were very different. Both felt at ease in each others presence taking each others hands and sitting together.
As Fr. Ito requested at the opening ceremony it was a festival of love of little people centered around the baby Jesus. Closing, one of the members of the center sang “Please Come Again Next Year” to members of the church. Everybody was unanimous.
Thanks be to God.
Seminar in remembrance of MONSIGNOR VLADIMIR GHIKA, December 23rd 2014
17.00 Short movie about the life of Monsignor Vladimir Ghika
17.20 Monsignor Vladimir Ghika in Japan – Presentation by H.E. Mr. Radu Serban, Ambassador of Romania to Japan
17.40 Presentation by Father Francisc Ungureanu, Episcopal Vicar of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 17.00 -19.00
Venue: EMBASSY OF ROMANIA, Tokyo
Language: English. Written translation in Japanese