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St. Ignatius Church, Kojimachi, Tokyo

St. Ignatius Church, in accordance with the new directives given by the governor of Tokyo(dated March 25), has decided on the following measures.

 

  1. All Masses and activities will remain cancelled until April 12(Sun). People with special health issues and elderly people(above 80) in particular are requested to refrain from coming to the church.

  2. All chapels(including the main church) will be closed from March 28(Sat) till April 12(Sun). All are requested to pray at home.
  3. Weddings and funerals are allowed with minimum number of attendees.
  4. There will be no public services during the Holy Week. Please spend the Holy Week at your home prayerfully and meditatively. You may watch the live-streaming of the Holy Week services by Pope Francis or Arch Bishop Kikuchi.
  5. All group activates and ceremonies(Baptism, Conversion, First Communion etc.) are requested to be rescheduled after April 12(Sun)
  6. This announcement is of March 26(Thu). We will keep you updated as and when the situation changes.
  7. Pope Francis will hold a Benediction service(Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament) which will be live-streamed on March 28(Sat) at 2 am(Japanese time). Those who recite the necessary prayers will obtain a plenary indulgence.

The situation has made it impossible for us to hold the most important Holy Week services. let us pray together in these difficult times, holding our hearts close to the passion of Jesus on the Cross and with the hope for the day when we can truly rejoice in the resurrection of Christ.

March 27(Thu), 2020
Fr.Hanafusa Ryuichiro SJ

 

On the Holy Family

Saint Joseph has long been mysterious to me since he has absolutely no dialogue in the New Testament. However, due to recently becoming a father myself, I feel that some of the mysteriousness surrounding this great saint has been lifted for me. Though he has no lines of dialogue, the figure of Joseph looms large over the whole of the infancy narratives in the Gospel.

 

When Caesar Augustus decreed that all peoples of the empire must be registered, this forced everyone, young and old, rich and poor, to travel back to their town of origin for registration. One can imagine the stress that Joseph must have felt. As if having a very-pregnant wife wasn't stressful enough, now government bureaucrats were forcing him to make the long trip from Nazareth down to Bethlehem! He most likely was concerned that the trip could prove detrimental to the health of Mary or the baby in her womb. Yet, through all of this, we see Joseph and Mary exemplifying perseverance and faith- a humble trust in God's providential leading of them through all of life's hassles. Through faith, surely they came to realize the opportunities God was about to set out for them (indeed, the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem wouldn't have been fulfilled were it not for this bureaucratic hurdle). They needed only to cooperate.

 

My own recent experiences of fatherhood helped me to better appreciate Joseph's calm navigation of these hurdles. As a foreigner in Japan, our child needed to be registered not only at the local city office and Tokyo Immigration, but he had to appear personally at the US Embassy! That's a lot of responsibility for a little baby (and a lot of headaches for mom and dad). There were many times that the bureaucratic requirements of various documents and forms, coupled with the needs of a newborn, seemed overwhelming. And it was in this context that I began to see glimmers of how Joseph must have felt during all the hassles the Holy Family faced: Cancelling their planned delivery in Nazareth, packing for the long journey to Bethlehem, riding there on pack animals, procuring enough food for the trip, etc. Following the Holy Family's lead, I also decided to try to not waste any time worrying about how our son's residency application would go, or if our infant would be alright through this process. I can't say I was perfectly successful but throwing myself upon God's providential leading and cooperating as best I could certainly helped to reduce my worries.

 

This Christmastide season, let us remember that even when abrupt changes in life's plans spring up, through faith we can trust that this was God's will, and those plans probably pale in comparison to whatever it is that God is about to set out for us. We need only to cooperate!
 

 

by Ryan Hicks

 

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