The Way To Become Church
With the change of the liturgical language in many Churches, it is no longer possible to take care of people coming from different countries. St. Ignatius Church realized this problem very early and so, with the collaboration of various Priests, Sisters and Lay people they started the English Center and the other language groups. Their activity is not only important for immigrants, but also for local Catholics.
If we restrict our Church activity only to Japanese people, little by little we will think that our responsibility is only towards them. That is not so. Japanese and foreigners are to be one in this place entrusted to us. As Church we have the obligation to take care of all Catholics, whatever place they come from and to announce the Gospel to them and to non-Christians. Certainly, this is a difficult task but this is the way it should be.
Jesus sent the Apostles to different countries in order to start communities with the same faith, the same charity, and the same hope. In this way we are in communion with the Church of the past, of the present, and of the future. We should never forget that this is the big dream of our Lord, who is trying to make one family of all nations, in which everybody is treated as brother and sister.
It is not only a question of helping people who come from other countries, but also of the need to know and to experience the beauty and the faith of an international community. I hope that the John de Britto Center will continue to work with renewed energy for people coming to St. Ignatius. Their number will increase and so the challenge will be bigger, but do not be afraid, the Lord is working with you.
The foreigners we are now helping, will in the future help us build the Church in Japan. We have a very good example in Pope Francis and in Fr. Renzo de Luca, our Jesuit Provincial, whose families went from Northern Italy to Argentina with their priests. Not only did they keep the faith, with the other groups they contributed to the beginning of the local Church.
All Churches, starting from the Church of Rome, were started by missionaries and Christians coming from abroad. Our task in Japan is difficult, but I repeat, let us remember that our Lord is always working with us.
By Fr. Domenico Vitali, S.J.