Tokyo (Agenzia Fides) - A group of Christian pilgrims from Japan, accompanied by a Salesian religious, has arrived in Rome to attend the beatification of John Paul II and "to commend to the Polish Pope the sufferings the Japanese people are living today, asking for his intercession”: This is what Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, Provincial Salesian Vicar in Tokyo refers to Fides, describing how the local Catholic community is preparing to live the event of the beatification.
The whole Japanese Church has mobilized Japan, announcing the event in all dioceses and parishes, asking the faithful to join in prayer. Evening prayer vigils and Masses have been held in six parishes in Tokyo where there are the Salesians, and other Christian groups like Focolare and the Neocatechumenal who live celebrations and prayer meetings to commemorate John Paul II and join spiritually with those involved in the celebration in St. Peter's Square. Due to the popularity of Pope John Paul II, the beatification is also an opportunity for the faithful of evangelization, since the invitation to participate in the initiatives promoted by the Catholic community have also been addressed to many non-Christians.
The event comes at a difficult moment for the country, and Fr. Mario Yamanouchi points out to Fides: "The life and work of John Paul II are important to give a message of hope and closeness to all those who suffer today. The missionary Pope, who was also in Japan in 1981, suffered, was close to those who suffered, and today shows the path to the Japanese Christians. Inspired by him, today the local Catholic Church bears witness to the love of God with a strong presence of solidarity and closeness and prayer for the victims of the tsunami and the earthquake”.
In the diocese of Sendai, the most affected area, there are over 500 Catholic volunteers, while the national conference of religious women has established a fixed garrison in two parishes of the diocese, where the sisters of all the congregations in Japan alternate, just to give a tangible sign of closeness and solidarity to the victims”. In this work, the example and life of John Paul II today calls us to make an effort of ever- growing love towards your neighbour”, said Father Yamanouchi. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/04/2011)