(ANS - Tokyo) - Yesterday, Sunday 12th August, the Salesian parish in the Meguro district of Tokyo hosted a service for peace and liberation from nuclear threat. The ceremony took place a few days after the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Japan the theme of peace is dear to the hearts of everyone.
In the early afternoon of the 12th, around 140 young and not so young parishioners came together in the parish church to pray for peace. They used a Taize style of prayer. A good number of them came from the other two parishes of the deanery which organised the event. It was the younger members who wanted the Taize prayer opportunity which they did with prayer, hymns and petitions, begging of the Lord the gift of a world free from the slavery of hatred and nuclear energy.
Later, the group having swollen to some 400 people by then, Solemn Mass began, celebrated by His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, Apostolic Nuncio to Japan, who in his homily invited all present to be instruments of peace, in the spirit of the Beatitudes and according to the invitation of St Francis in his well-known prayer.
Immediately following Mass there was a Eucharistic procession in the large Salesian playground; such processions are a relatively rare event for Japanese Catholics. Later, back in Church, the occasion concluded with Benediction.
The two prayer occasions were carried out more or less in silence, following the style of a Japanese liturgy, but later in the theatre it was anything but silent, with young people showing that peace can be built by food, music and the sheer happiness of being together.
Before he departed, the Apostolic Nuncio commented that the Salesians really know how to live up to their spirit of joy wherever they are in the world.