Japan - Challenges awaiting Fr Yamanouchi

14 June 2018

(ANS - Tokyo) - "As Pope Francis already did after his own election, I too ask each of you to pray for me, and, in turn, I give you my blessing. From today on, we do not stop praying for each other." This is how the nominated bishop of Saitama, Fr Mario Yamanouchi, begins his public message wherein he traces his path and examines the reality of his diocese. Despite the most recent nomination, the Salesian already has in mind the priorities and challenges to be faced in the task entrusted to him by the Holy Father.

The diocese covers an area of about 22,600 km2 and covers 4 civil prefectures. The population reaches over 14 million people and the number of native Catholics is just 20,600 faithful - however, the number rises to over 120 thousand with the inclusion of the immigrant Catholics.

The Catholic community includes about 250 consecrated persons (priests, permanent deacons, men and women religious, consecrated laypersons), of different nationalities - Koreans, Brazilians, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Peruvians, Indonesians ... And among the other segments to take into consideration there are many children of mixed couples, some refugees or people awaiting legal recognition for their stay in Japan.

The diocese has about 60 parishes, with 40 priests and a few permanent deacons, 4 male congregations and 18 female congregations, some of which are cloistered. "My wish is to visit all the parishes and religious communities, to meet them all in the first year and to renew this appointment every year."

Important will be the relationship with the other majority religions in the territory, especially as there are, in the area, many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, together with Protestant churches. "Without a doubt, this is a spiritual treasure to be shared as brothers," comments the future prelate.

Among the challenges that Fr Yamanouchi has already identified, there are three in the forefront:

-        the strong component of immigrant Catholics (70%) out of the total Catholic community;

-        the need to help the charisms of the various congregations present to enrich the entire diocesan community;

-        dialogue with the ecclesial movements and their collaboration under the guidance and authority of the bishop.

Fr Yamanouchi concludes: "We pray that Mary, Mother of the Church and of all peoples, protect us against the forces of evil and that St. Joseph, her spouse, guide us in the ministry, with special attention for children, young people and seniors!"



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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