Tokyo (Fides Service) - Preparations for Japanese participation in World Youth Day 2005 WYD, in Cologne Germany August 9-25 have begun. According to Archbishop Okada Takeo of Tokyo, appointed WYD co-ordinator by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, recruitment of participants began last October with explanatory meetings in various parts of Japan. This will be the 20th WYD, the first was held in Rome in 1984.
The WYD experience has been of benefit to the Church in Japan, said Bishop Mizobe Osamu of Takamatsu. “After the 2002 gathering in Toronto, Canada, young people from Sendai (Bishop Mizobe’s diocese at the time) on their own and without a break began all sorts of activities”, he said. He added, “Their sense of life became like a detonator that spread a very good atmosphere throughout the whole Church”.
At a recent preparatory meeting two participants in the Toronto WYD spoke of their experience. Uda Ai, 22, of Matsugicho church in Fukushima was baptised as a high school student. She said she went to Toronto for a “look-see” but found the experience deepened her faith. “He IS! God really is. It was nothing dramatic, but something I felt when dancing or just walking along. God is within us, something I had never felt in Japan. I also felt like part of the Church” she said.
Sato Aya, 21, of Kita Sendai church said that she had been baptised as an infant and had grown away from the Church.
“But during WYD I realised that everyone is given a role to play and that makes is all real” she said. She is now a Sunday school leader at her parish. To provide young people with information about WYD the Bishops’ Conference has a special e-mail address email@example.com. PS (Fides Service 7/2/2005 words 326 lines 26)