He had been expecting that as a new priest his first assignment would be somewhere where the order already had a sizable presence.
"My first desire was to go to Taiwan. Our congregation has two parishes in Taiwan, our mission is already stable in Taiwan," Berdos said.
"But we are still young here," he said.
"Here in Japan, we have to start from scratch."
Berdos estimates that in his experience, there are two Japanese priests to every foreign priest serving the Archdiocese of Tokyo. But that number varies considerably across the country.
"Every diocese has its own situation."
Despite the language gap and a steep learning curve, Berdos has managed to bond well with the other priests of St. Mary's.
"My Japanese is still struggling, but I can get along in day to day conversation."
Every month there is a meeting for the clergy of the parish. It is here that Berdos has opportunities to bond with priests he doesn't usually work with directly.
"We bond through what makes us common. Maybe in small things, maybe in big things too."
"I'm starting to feel at home here," he said.
(Story continues below)
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While begins to mesh into Japan, Berdos knows he might at any moment be plucked out of the country and sent elsewhere.
"We are moved according to the needs of the Church. This [parish] cannot be my kingdom," he said, comparing a refusal to move elsewhere to staking a claim in a territory.
"Not forever, for sure," he laughed.
For other priests or laity considering doing work in Japan, Berdos offered a simple piece of advice:
"The Japanese church is young in Tokyo. Perhaps here you'll be able to integrate if you observe and be silent.
"In silence, you will be able to understand the words [between] the lines."