Statement of the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan Upon the Visit of Pope Francis to Japa […]
Upon the Visit of Pope Francis to Japan
To the Catholics of Japan
Pope Francis visited Japan from November 23 to 26, meeting various people in Tokyo, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima. He shared several important messages and preached as the principal celebrant at Masses.
I want to thank God for this blessing and to thank Pope Francis from the bottom of my heart.
Making the pope’s desire to visit Japan a reality took the cooperation and effort of many people and organizations. The heartfelt involvement of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and offices of liturgy, social communications and security; the Apostolic Nunciature to Japan; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, especially the Special Bishops’ Committee for Preparing the Papal Visit to Japan; priests; male and female religious and laity all played an important role. They all worked hard to coordinate their activities to ensure that all went well. Even so, there were probably things that did not go as well as planned and may have caused inconvenience to various people. I ask Pope Francis and you for your understanding and forgiveness for any inadequacies.
I want to express my gratitude to the many people who endured the rain at Nagasaki’s Hypocenter Park and Nishizaka or joined in the Mass under the blue sky at the Big N prefectural baseball stadium, the representatives of various religions and Hibakusha and others who participated in the gathering for peace at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the representatives of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster victims who travelled to Tokyo, the young people at Tokyo’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, the many people who joined in the Mass at the Tokyo Dome and the ten thousand volunteers who helped make the pope’s visit a success. In addition to media from Japan and abroad, many people welcomed the Pope along the streets of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. I am grateful to all of you. Thank you very much.
I think that Pope Francis moved the hearts of many people, regardless of whether they are Christians or not. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and gave valuable messages for believers, disaster victims, and young people.
From now on, I hope we will reflect on the significance of Pope Francis’ visit to Japan and its theme of Protect All Life. Let us read his messages and share our thoughts about them. And let us pray for guidance in deciding what to do so that they bear fruit in Japan’s Church and society. Please share with us bishops your comments and ideas for the future.
Let us work toward the future in each of our dioceses and communities.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit and the blessings of the Lord be upon us all.