20th Anniversary Celebration
June 9, 2019, Pentecost Sunday, St. Ignatius Church celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Dedication of the present church’s building. Mass was celebrated in seven languages, representing each, the Masses being held regularly at St. Ignatius, namely, Japanese, English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Polish and Portuguese. During the Mass, we were all encouraged by the homily of Fr. Hanafusa, our Pastor, when he exhorted us, “Yes we can, by the Holy Spirit!”． The weather forecast for the day was heavy rain, but because so many were praying and believing, our good Lord withheld the rain. The clouds “waited” until all activities were over to finally let out the blessing of rain in late afternoon.
Following the mass, two separate events were concurrently held: a Commemorative Symposium in the Main Chapel and an ‘International Plaza’ held in St. Joseph’s Hall.
About two hundred people came to listen to a talk given by Ms. Akiko Murakami, the Principal Architect In-Charge of designing our church. She explained the theme of her design as, “The Peace of the Lord” which she tried to put forth throughout the church’s design. She shared with us the hardships of trying to obtain consensus for the design, the budget cuts, asking constructions workers to bear doing difficult works in the middle of winter. She ended her talk by expressing her gratitude to God and to all involved in bringing about the new St Ignatius Church.
After Ms. Murakami’s talk, an exchange of comments and thoughts were given by Ms. Minori Takeuchi, who represented the youth of St.Ignatius, myself, representing the International community and Fr. Hanafusa, as the Pastor of our church. Ms. Takeuchi recalled how she marveled at the intricate works of the ceiling, walls, stained glass, etc. of the church even as a youngster. Now belonging to the Youth Ministry, she spoke vibrantly about how there are so many young people at St. Ignatius eager to become more involved to contribute to the “Living Community”. She expressed her joy that on this occasion, the Japanese and the International Youth Ministry of St. Ignatius worked together for the first time.
As for my part, I expressed our gratitude first to God and then to the people who more than twenty years ago gave their time, effort and financial resources so that we today, can gather in this beautiful church and be God’s people. I commented on the wonderful sanctuary where we can surround the altar as family, where all are welcome to take part in the Lord’s Supper. I am reminded of Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! ^For there the LORD has commanded His blessing, life forevermore.”
Fr. Hanafusa, touched on the generation of the Heisei Era as “the people keeping more to themselves rather than belonging to and being united with a community”. He said that, ironically, it seems that our church has grown because there is freedom in a large church where people do not have to associate with others if they choose not to. However, since this year’s church theme is “Living Community”, he encouraged us to be involved and find the graces of God that manifest in community living.
Thank you, Lord, for St. Ignatius Church being where it is today! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever! Amen.
by Mutsuko Smith