Last week, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People launched a solidarity campaign through the Apostolate of the Sea to rehabilitate the fishing communities that were destroyed.
Even with the “enthusiastic” response to Sendai's plight, Bishop Kikuchi said there will be “long and difficult days lying ahead of them.”
Even those farmers who escaped the tsunami's wrath are now faced with the threat of radiation contamination from the damaged nuclear power plant at Fukushima.
Bishop Kicuchi said that situation is not a complete loss for the region's people.
For him, the tsunami has also provided the local Church an opportunity to strengthen its spirit of community and witness to Gospel values in assisting victims.
Catholics represent just a “tiny minority” of the general population and are generally viewed as “caretakers of European traditional culture, rather than socially and politically-active figures,” he said.
“What we can do as a tiny Church is evangelization through our social action among people seeking assistance. Not only for this disaster but there are so many people living in solitude in present Japan.”
He pointed to elderly without family support, youths isolated from the world in the comfort of their homes and migrants who fall through the cracks of public support.
“There is a lot to do for these people in present-day Japan,” the Niigata bishop said.
“The disaster,” he concluded, “reminded us of our role as Catholics in modern Japanese society. We are to evangelize through our living witnesses.”