To everyone around the world who supported reconstruction in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake […]
To everyone around the world who supported reconstruction in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake:
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage worldwide, killing many people and causing suffering to many more. We bishops extend our deepest sympathy to everyone affected by this disease and pray that countries will work together to end this difficult situation as soon as possible.
It has been 10 years since the triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear-plant explosion struck the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region of eastern Japan on March 11, 2011. Nearly 20,000 people died in that disaster, and government statistics show that as of October2020, more than 40,000 people continued to live as evacuees.
In the face of unimaginable destruction, many people from all over the world, not just Japan, have provided support. Our activities to work closely with the reconstruction of various parts of Tohoku have formed a bond of solidarity that spreads throughout the world. The Catholic Church in Japan established a center for reconstruction assistance in Sendai immediately after the disaster and began support activities mainly in the Catholic Diocese of Sendai, which has responsibility for the Tohoku region. For 10 years the nation’s 16 dioceses have been part of these efforts.
We offer our sincere gratitude to you, our brothers and sisters from all over the world, for your spiritual and financial support for the reconstruction activities of the Japanese Church during the past decade. We especially thank all those who rushed to the volunteer bases and joined various activities to walk with the people in the disaster area.
The Catholic Church has worked and will continue to work with the affected communities to create hope for life. When the Catholic Sendai Diocese took the lead in reconstruction assistance, it set as its motto “A New Creation” and chose to move forward with hope. The Church’s reconstruction assistance activities shall not end at the 10-year milestone.
Ten years have passed, and some volunteer bases have completed their activities while others have evolved into NPOs, etc. However, though the shape of its cooperation may change, the Catholic Church in Japan will continue through its local parishes to contribute to the further reconstruction of the local communities.
When Pope Francis visited Japan in November 2019, he spoke at a gathering with people from the disaster-stricken areas of Tohoku and said, “No one ‘rebuilds’ by himself or herself; nobody can start over alone. We have to find a friendly and fraternal hand, capable of helping to raise not just a city, but also our horizon and our hope.”
Inspired by these words, the Catholic Church in Japan will continue to journey with the people of Tohoku as friends, brothers and sisters. We will provide not just material support, but a bond of solidarity that spreads throughout the world and raises “our horizon and our hope.” We thank everyone who has supported us so far, and we ask for your continued prayers for our brothers and sisters in the disaster area.