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Will be OPEN everyday, starting June 15, 2020 from 10:30 A.M. -2:30 P.M.
for inquiries and registration to the Sunday Masses in accordance to the Guidelines for the Reopening of St. Ignatius Church

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Edo Martyrs Pilgrimage

By Michael Wakabayashi



We have a place called “Kibe Hall” in the church premises, but do you know after whom it was named? Peter Kibe, one of the members of the Society of Jesus. He was the first Japanese to visit Jerusalem and he became a priest in Rome. Together with other 187 martyrs, he was beatified in Nagasaki, Japan by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

 As the Tokugawa government in Japan imposed an edict banning Christianity in Japan in the early 17th century, many Christians resisted and were arrested. Peter encouraged them not to give up their religion and so finally he was arrested to be burned to death July 4, 1639. Believe it or not, 400 years ago, there were about 2,000 Christian martyrs in Edo (now called Tokyo).

This year is the 10th Anniversary of the Beatification of Peter Kibe and his companions. To commemorate the event, there was an “Edo Martyrs Pilgrimage” held July 1, where more than ninety people participated. Starting from our church, they visited the following places:

  1. Fudanotsuji (near Tamachi Station) – Jerome de Angelis (Italian priest), Francis Galvez (Spanish priest) and Mondo Hara (a samurai and an official of the Tokugawa government) were burned to death, after 47 other Christians were burned on Dec. 4, 1623. The three martyrs were later beatified by the Pope.
  2. Takanawa Church – This church has a small museum showing the mass killings held at Fudanotsuji. There is a picture on Fudanotsuji with two priests and Hara riding on horses when they arrived at the place.
  3. Kodenmacho (near Tokyo station) This was the biggest jail in Japan at that time and Peter Kibe was killed here. The picture shows that this was the place of execution, not only for Christians but also for political and ordinary criminals.
  4. Asakusa Church – There is an “Asakusa and Torigoe Catholic Martyrs Monument” here.


I strongly recommend that the foreign community join this pilgrimage next year so they will know the history and feel the spirit of the people who were the Catholics, as we are now.

Note: If you want to know more about Peter Kibe and the 187 Martyrs, read the English edition of the book, “Full Sail With the Wind of Grace”, which is available in Don Bosco Bookstore in Yotsuya.


Pope’s Prayer Intention for August: The Maritime World

We pray for all those who work and live from the sea, among them sailors, fishermen and their families.

Mission 2030 Prayer Intention, August 2020

Together with all people we pray for peace.
Lord, may we reject discrimination, prejudice and division that threaten peace.
Hand in hand with others and with compassion, may we put peace into action.

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