Holy Week and Easter
Away from St. Ignatius
Spending the Holy Week away from St. Ignatius community was quite dull and arid. It was our first time not to attend Masses both on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday here in Japan. We tried to keep up with those Mass celebrations via live streaming but it was difficult to feel that same level of passion and spirit that we normally feel at church. My eldest, Phielle, was looking forward to playing the role of a disciple again in the Maundy Thursday “Washing of the Feet,” not to mention celebrating Easter Sunday with the rest of the Sunday School kids. She also missed doing her chores as an Altar Server. She and her young brother,Perry, were also looking forward to those Easter eggs they would normally share with their friends. However, we believe that this is the sacrifice that the Lord wants us to undertake. It is for the common good and safety of the rest of humanity. Every day we pray that this pandemic will be over and things will return to what they used to be. How long we will have to battle this disease is uncertain but as long as we fight as one, we can all be healed as one!
Ronelle Endaya (Parent, English Sunday School)
The disorientation of physical distancing, trying to establish a viable, daily routine, how to remain strong and balanced physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually, required some very creative solutions. Taking conscientious time for prayer and meditation helped immensely, but I am not always the most disciplined person! One big help was the “Prayer of Spiritual Communion” along with my daily litany of prayers. I had more time to put heart and soul into this, not like when I had to rush out the door for my regular work schedule!
Mostly I really miss the physical, sensorial contact of Sunday Mass at St. Ignatius with all my brothers and sisters - the Sunday Liturgy, the prayers and singing, the physical touch of the Eucharist, Perry's super “oishi” lunch, and all the chat and shenanigans with my mates on Sunday! This was really brought home while I was watching the very inspiring Holy Thursday and Good Friday video commentaries of Fathers Chiesa and Collins. It was delightful to see the church, inside and out. Many images and thoughts came. I wanted to return to our physical, communal home together, safe and healthy!!!
I thank Fr. Hanafusa and Fr. Bony James for all their tireless, Christ-Centered pastoring. The Holy Father will surely hear of this! We are blessed with good priests and religious at St. Ignatius. Pray for them. Pray for all the laity, “A Faithful Family of God!” Pray for all around the world. This is a global blessing in disguise, that is, how we find God's Joy and Strength amidst all this.
Douglas Marvin (Faith-Sharing Group)
At first, I was at a loss how to make it through this time of difficulty. However, the live-streaming Masses and the Prayer Brigade formed by the English community made me feel joy that we were all united in prayer in spite of being apart physically. During this special Lenten season, I felt that God was calling us to turn to him, giving us the special opportunities to convert and to cherish the earth by going through this crisis. Actually, this virus knows no discrimination. It thrteatens our lives equally, regardless of wealth or fame. When I realized that we were all equal and vulnerable before God, what I could do was just totally surrender myself to the Lord, telling Him, “You are my Savior. I will follow you.” Even in the midst of the the darkness, the Risen Lord gives us hope that God will save all of us and a bright future is waiting for us. Hallelujah!
Yuko Kosugi (Eucharistic Minister)
Reflecting on Holy Week and Easter this year, our churches were empty and we were separated from one another. And yet in some ways I felt more united to the Church than ever before. Though watching online and with few people actually present for the services, I knew that as I watched a great multitude were also watching from their homes and participating in the liturgy. Our bond with one another goes far deeper than just our physical proximity. We are each united to millions of others both around the world and spread throughout time. As we journeyed together through the sorrowful passion of our Lord and celebrated His glorious resurrection, I felt very keenly how much the world needs the message of hope and new life, which can only be found in Jesus Christ. This tired old world needs the Gospel not just during this pandemic, but every day. All of us have been wounded by sin and need the healing Christ provides. Our churches may be empty, but praise God, so is Christ’s tomb.
John Kennedy (Faith Formation Class)