Loading
On disaster's first anniversary, Japanese Catholics turn to prayer
By Hillary Senour
Piles of debris in Ishinomaki, Japan, where a 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed thousands on March 11, 2011. Credit: Caritas Internationalis.
Piles of debris in Ishinomaki, Japan, where a 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed thousands on March 11, 2011. Credit: Caritas Internationalis.

.- A year after one of the most devastating Japanese natural disasters in history, Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga of Osaka is calling on Catholics to pray for those who died in the earthquake and tsunami and for the reconstruction of the country. 

“What happened on March 11, 2011 will never be forgotten in our lifetime,” Archbishop Ikenaga said in a letter to Japanese Catholics.

Archbishop Ikenaga urged the faithful to pray not only that the disaster areas will be reconstructed, but also that those who died as a result of the disaster “will be given eternal repose in the hands of God.”

To mark the first anniversary, bishops from all over Japan will celebrate Masses in their dioceses. Archbishop Ikenaga said it is his hope that these Masses will allow people to pray together “across the nation.”

Despite the horror of the earthquake and tsunami, which left the Japanese “deeply shocked,” Archbishop Ikenaga said he was able to “recognize how wonderful it is for people to support each other” by the generous donations and support of volunteers all over the world.

Koreans showed their support by holding up signs in front of news cameras that said, “We love Japan. Japan will overcome the hardship!”

The archbishop recalled how Japan received donations from “all over the world,” nuclear specialists from overseas offered “generous support,” and locals from “all over Japan” volunteered in the clean up.

“Facing unreasonable and cruel realities, we are largely impressed and encouraged by numerous people at home and abroad who are making every effort to help the affected persons,” Archbishop Ikenaga said.

On Feb. 15, all of the active Japanese bishops offered Mass at Tokyo’s Sekiguchu Cathedral in anticipation of the first anniversary of the disaster that killed an estimated 20,000 people. Approximately 400 people attended the Mass, which was dedicated to the memory of the disaster victims. 

In his homily, Bishop Tetsuo Hiraga of Sendai – whose diocese is home to the crippled Fukushima Dai'ichi power plant – offered his thanks to the volunteers who came from Japan and abroad.

Volunteer efforts, mostly being organized by Caritas Japan and the Diocese of Sendai, are now focused on reconstruction and “will be carried on for many years to come.”

“The word 'unimaginable' has become a regular part of my vocabulary in the past year,” Bishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi of Niigata and president of Caritas Japan said in a March 11 letter to donors.

Less than a week after the March 11 earthquake, Caritas Japan sent staff to Sendai to work with the local diocese to provide relief and assist in the rebuilding process.

Caritas Japan opened its first relief base in Shiogama, a major fishing and fish processing city, to help clean up homes that were badly damaged but still salvageable. After shoveling mud and debris out of the homes, volunteers drank tea and spoke with residents, giving survivors a “sense of solidarity in rebuilding their lives.”

Ishinomaki, the second largest community in the Miyagi Prefecture, lost 4,000 residents to the tsunami that followed the earthquake. Many survivors were left homeless, but were able to find shelter at Kadonowaki Junior High School, one of Caritas Japan's largest evacuation centers.

In the town of Shizugawa, a fishing town in the Minami-Sanriku district, Caritas Japan opened a cafe-style distribution center “where listening to survivors facilitated relationships.” Since the establishment of temporary housing, Caritas Japan has created “mobile cafes” to distribute supplies and continue “its service of listening.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Aug
20

Liturgical Calendar

August 20, 2014

Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Gospel
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 20: 1-16

Saint of the Day

St. Bernard de Clairvaux »

Saint
Date
08/18/14
08/17/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Homily
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: