Japan - Interview with Salesian coadjutor Joseph Do Phuc Hai, Vietnamese missionary in Japan

14 May 2020

(ANS - Chofu) – Salesian Brother Joseph Do Phuc Hai is a Vietnamese missionary in Japan. In the Chofu community in the Tokyo prefecture, he works with young Vietnamese migrants. For him, this is a great opportunity, for which he is grateful to God. He says he is truly happy to live here, in the "Holy Land" of the Salesians in Japan, where Fr Cimatti's body rests.

You look happy in his new mission. What is the source of joy for you now in Japan?

The main source of joy for me in Japan is knowing that I have the guidance and support of the Provincial and my confreres. What makes me happy is also the accompaniment of young people, hearing their stories, listening to them. Another thing... I asked the young Vietnamese why they show me so much affection and their answer was that I am part of the same Congregation as other Vietnamese who they know and esteem. That's it, these things make me really happy and this can be the source of my joy.

What is your job with young Vietnamese migrants?

I have the opportunity to do apostolate on weekends in two Salesian parishes: Yamato and Hamamatsu (both in the diocese of Yokohama). However, most of the activities concern the animation of youth groups, the organization of board games and the moments of friendly sharing after Sunday Mass. Also, I share some thoughts with them to encourage each other. On Saturday evening, then, we also begin "sharing the Bible".

What are the challenges in this new mission?

The challenges for me in this new mission are many but, as a Salesian, I transform them into events and opportunities. The first challenge is to learn the language and adapt to the culture of Japan; then to respond to the needs of young Vietnamese and to learn to work with other diocesan religious and priests. There are not many young people who join youth activities after Sunday mass. Often, in fact, young Vietnamese who come to Japan also work on Saturdays and Sundays and when they don't work they need to attend Japanese language courses. So, apart from Sunday mass and confession, it is quite difficult to involve them in other activities. Now, with the spread of Coronavirus, we try to have mainly online gatherings.

Would you invite other Salesians from the East Asia-Oceania Region to Japan?

Yes, I would be truly happy to have other missionary confreres from other Provinces of the East Asia-Oceania Region in Japan.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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