.- Although Japan's population is only one percent Catholic, two World Youth Day pilgrims from that country are getting a lot of attention for their handmade banner that says “Love from Japan.”
“A friend of ours stitched it – it is the Virgin Mary, all the way from Japan,” said Tetsu Itoh, a World Youth Day social media volunteer who explained the attention-grabbing banner to CNA.
The light gray banner depicts the Virgin Mary wearing traditional Asian attire, holding the boy Jesus, with both dressed in light colors. The banner says “Love from Japan” in English and Japanese.
Kyoko Kitagawa, another Japanese social media volunteer for World Youth Day, said her friend Abe Mihoko painstakingly stitched the banner onto cloth back home in Japan.
“It took 2 months to stitch, and she was not able to come to Madrid because she has a new baby,” Kitagawa explained.
Itoh and Kitagawa are in Madrid serving as volunteers for World Youth Day's social media effort, a top priority for the organization. Resources including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allow Internet users around the world to follow a constant stream of updates, and make a “virtual pilgrimage.”
World Youth Day’s social media team hopes that countries with low number of Catholics will particularly benefit from the social media initiative, with help from international volunteers like Tetsu and Kyoko.