Tokyo, Japan, Nov 27, 2019 / 05:00 am
On Sundays, Fr. Raniel Berdos can be found strolling the aisles of St. Mary's Cathedral in Tokyo.
He wears a traditional black cassock and keeps his thick, black head of hair impeccable. He switches smoothly between Japanese and English, but maintains the same quiet enthusiasm through each conversation.
By the time the church is beginning to clear out, he's been approached by no less than a dozen parishioners -- many of them older “Church ladies,” eager to talk about this or that happening behind the scenes at the parish.
On his way back to his office, Berdos, 35, is handed a bag of bread by a parishioner, who reminds him to share with the other clergymen.
Berdos is a missionary to Japan, from the Philippines. The priest grew up in the Diocese of Tagum. He has been a priest for three years, and Japan is his first assignment since being ordained.
He was sent to Japan once before, for a break after his third year of theology studies. It wasn't clear at the time whether he'd be sent back after his schooling was complete.
"It was ambiguous. They don't want to preempt the decision of the general superior."
Berdos is a member of the Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo, sometimes called the Scalabrinian Missionaries. The order was founded with the intention of providing aid and support to migrant Italians going out of Italy.