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.
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.
This year’s vow renewal was held during benediction on 24th October at 7pm. The following day at 2pm a vow taking celebration mass was presided over by Catholic Koganei Church Priest Fr. Dinh. This year one sister celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and two their Golden Jubilees. Furthermore, a younger sister renewed her perpetual vows.
Thank you to the large number who attended the celebrations and party afterwards.
25th July 2014 Ground breaking ceremony at the construction site of St. John’s Social Welfare Society’s new regional care center for the intellectually handicapped
On 25th July 2014 a ground breaking ceremony at the construction site of St. John’s Social Welfare Society’s new regional care center for the intellectually handicapped was conducted and officiated over by Fr. Joseph Dinh of the Catholic Koganei Church.
On 6th June at 7pm a benediction officiated by Fr. Dinh of the Catholic Koganei Church, was held in preparation for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the St. John’s Congregation.
God desired the founding of the Congregation at a time when Japan was in disruption as a result of war. We prayed that we, who seek to live the consecrated life, may become appropriate neighbors to those who need our help, such as the sick and lonely, and that we may be able to continue to show God’s mercy. Furthermore, we prayed that God would send us new vocations.