ENGLISH PASTORAL MINISTRY
Word of the Week:
Pope`s Intention for the Month
March 2017: Support for Persecuted Christians
How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!
They are persecuted and killed because they are Christians. Those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong.
I ask you: how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?
Do it with me, that they may be supported by the prayers and material help of all the Churches and communities.
CTIC`s Office Schedule:
The Catholic Tokyo International Center (CTIC) will be open every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sunday of the month from 11:00am to 4:00pm but will be closed on Mondays that follow.
2017 Sunday schedules:
February 5, 19
March 5, 19
April 2, 30
May 7, 21
June 4, 18
July 2, 16, 30
August 6, 20
September 3, 17
October 1, 15, 29
November 5, 19
December 3, 17
CTIC Planner 2017:
The 2017 CTIC Planner that has this year replaced the Kalakbay Planner is still available at CTIC. It is a good companion to record short appointments and reference to daily Gospel reading.
This planner contains the following:
- Prayers in english and romaji;
- Mysteries of the Holy Rosary;
- The Rite of Penance;
- Daily reading guide;
- Japan National Holidays;
- Church feasts and holidays;
- List of Catholic Churches in Tokyo-to, Chiba-ken, Saitama-ken, and Kanagawa-ken;
- Spouse Violence Counseling Support Center contact number; and
- Emergency call numbers
Talking About Japan
What is the geography of Japan like?
Japan can be described as a mountainous country. Although it is a little smaller than California, 67% of its land surface is covered with mountains, and plains account for only 13%.
Rivers running from the mountains carve numerous valleys and gorges, and give a great deal of variety to the country`s topographical features. At the mouths of rivers, fan-shaped deltas are formed, most of which are very small except for the Kantō, Ōsaka, and Nōbi plains.
The coast line of this island nation is extremely long, stretching for nearly 34,000km. The complicated coastal line of Japan is indicative of the scenic beauty that varies from region to region.
Q & A Living in Japan
Special Residence Permission
Under what circumstances can I obtain a Special Residence Permission?
As explained previously, in order for foreign nationals to reside in Japan, they are required to have a Status of Residence as defined in the Immigration Control Act. Besides the standard Status of Residence as defined by law, there are also cases where the Minister of Justice recognizes certain types of residence at his discretion. This is what is referred to as Special Residence Permission, which is a type of long-term resident.
A person is granted this status if the Minister of Justice believes there is justifiable cause for the person to enter and reside in Japan. There is no officially defined criteria for this special residence permission.
"Living with the Japanese Law: A Guide to Foreign Nationals in Japan (Q&A 101)"
As early as December last year, some communities in Tokyo and nearby diocese had already sought the English Pastoral Team of CTIC to schedule a parish lenten recollection. The Filipino community in Gunma for instance had requested through its pastoral worker, Sr. Rose Remegio for a recollection on March 25, while the Filipino community at Machida had asked for March 18. Meanwhile, Akabane had earlier scheduled its recollection on March 4 while Ichikawa will hold its recollection on March 11. The Lenten Season will begin with the celebration of the Ash Wednesday, which this year is on March 1st. During this season, every Catholic is especially invited to spend more time to pray, fast and do charitable acts. Normally, Lenten recollections are provided by parishes to assist those parishioners who wish to deepen their faith appreciation and need for continuous conversion.
Lenten Recollection schedule announced
As early as last year, some Filipino leaders of various communities in the archdiocese and outside Tokyo had requested the English Pastoral Team of the Catholic Tokyo International Center to assist them in their desire for a parish Lenten recollection. Acknowledging the importance of such requests, the EPT had invited some people to help and come up with the following schedule for everyone interested to participate:
|Sat., March 4||Akabane||12:00 - 17:00||Fr. Nelson Barbarona, SVD|
|Sat., March 11||Ichikawa||13:00 - 17:00||Fr. Edwin Corros, CS|
|Sat., March 18||Machida||10:00 - 17:00||Fr. Edwin Corros, CS|
|Sa., March 18||Umeda||10:00 - 16:00||Ms. Therese Japitana|
|Sun., March 19||Narita||13:30 - 17:00||Ms. Erlyn Regondon|
|Sat., March 25||Gunma||10:00 -16:00||Fr. Edwin Corros, CS|
|Sun., April 9||Hachioji||14:30 - 17:00||Ms. Erlyn Regondon|
|Sun., April 9||Goi||14:00 - 22:00||Fr. Edwin Corros, CS|
For more information about the aforementioned Lenten recollection schedule, any parishioner may get in touch with the EPT of CTIC. A time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be devoted for each recollection.
Filipino Mass at Meguro has began
Responding to the request for a Filipino Mass by some Filipinos who could not attend on Sunday due primarily to the demands of their work, the parish priest of St. Anselm Parish, Fr. Marco Martinez of the Guadalupe Missionaries had approved such request after consulting his parish pastoral council. Assisting the Meguro parish on some Sundays of the month, Fr. Edwin D. Corros, a Scalabrinian missionary who was earlier consulted about such request had equally agreed to take charge of the Filipino mass.
On February 4, 2017 the first Mass in Filipino language at Meguro parish was held at 7:30 in the evening with more than seventy people attending. The number of people who came to attend the Eucharist went beyond the expected twenty or so people who had initially wished to celebrate the mass at the small chapel. The choir of El Shaddai had volunteered to sing at the liturgy as the Mass was also offered to an active member who succumbed to cancer last January 28th. Several members of the El Shaddai community came to attend.
Towards the end of the Mass before he gave the final blessing, Fr. Edwin D. Corros had said that the success of the anticipated mass in Filipino during Saturday at Meguro parish would mainly depend on the regularity of their attendance. Moreover, the generosity of the people who are willing to serve in the Mass without expecting anything in return will likewise help sustain the celebration. While he had invited anyone willing to serve, they were cautioned however that a catechism and formation seminar would be required of them before they can actually serve in the Mass. Meanwhile, active members of different liturgical ministries in other parishes had offered their availability to serve in the Mass, while new leaders will be formed to help animate in the Saturday night celebration at Meguro. Furthermore, Fr. Corros had encouraged those parishioners already involved actively in the Japanese mass to continue their involvement so that a much closer understanding towards integration of the community could be fostered. They were also reminded of their mission in Japan as Catholics who were given the chance to come to a country where Christianity is a minority and to become real witnesses to the faith that they had once received in the country of origin.
Lectors attended seminar at Meguro Parish
Lectors serving the English Mass at the parish of St. Anselm`s Catholic church had undergone a formation seminar for two Sundays, February 19 and 26, 2017. They were initially oriented on the latest development happening in the Church, particularly on certain regulations introduced by many dioceses to anyone who wish to serve in the parish. With the previous report of abuses committed not only by some members of the clergy but also by those working in the parish or those employed in school or other church institutions, regulations are now being implemented to safeguard the rights of any member of the Church. While the practice of providing seminar for liturgical ministers is not really new, this is however being employed by parishes with bigger number of parishioners.
The seminar allows parish volunteers not only to learn more about their faith, but also would help them appreciate their role and responsibilities in serving the Church. Not known to most ordinary Catholics, many dioceses now around the world require parishioners serving through various parish ministries to constantly attend formation seminars. They are obliged to undergo annual formation and some are even prohibited to continue serving in any capacity without attending the required formation. Unlike in the past, nowadays, many parishes are not allowing just anyone to proclaim the Word without prior orientation and training. Some even have to pass a background check particularly pertinent to their faith and moral life.
GFGC held Assessment and Planning
At the Catholic Church of Shiomi and Nishi-Chiba last January 28 and February 18, 2017 respectively, the coordinators of the Gathering of Filipino Groups and Communities (GFGC) had spent a longer period for its assessment and planning respectively. Led by the GFGC chairperson, Dr. Mel Kasuya the group of Filipino coordinators that represented the YEAST program had spent together a substantial amount of time to assess the achievements of its programs for the past 2016 and the challenges that they see in their parish involvement in the different parts of Tokyo.
With the assistance of one of its members, Mr. Frank Ocampo, a social worker based in Chiba area, the assessment activity employing the appreciative inquiry method was accomplished. After the assessment activity, the group had moved on to discuss further its program of activities that will be continued in 2017. Such program is expected to enhance parish leaders` contributions to their local parishes. To symbolize their commitment to the work and mission of GFGC, the leaders had received a special blessing at the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Edwin Corros, CS that the group had celebrated to conclude the assessment and planning activities.
GFGC Held Assessment and Planning
Kiyose Filipino Catholic Community celebrated 20 years
The Filipino community based in a parish located at the northwest of Tokyo archdiocese had recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of its foundation. The celebration began with a thanksgiving mass at 4:00pm presided by Fr. Edwin D. Corros, CS. It was immediately followed by dinner offered by the Filipino parishioners. While buffet-dinner was served, some important guests were requested to give their congratulatory messages to the community including Fr. Ito Atsushi, the parish priest and those instrumental in their continuous involvement in the local parish. The anniversary merriment was likewise an occasion for the community members to witness the value of unity among the parishioners and cooperation without neglecting their responsibility to the local parish. Based on the history of their foundation, the Filipinos in Kiyose had started to organize varied activities for their community in 1997 to which the Filipino Mass was one of the most important events for them to gather regularly.
Past and current parish of Kiyose Catholic Church for several years had always manifested an all-out support to the Filipino community. In fact at the KFC`s 20th Foundation Anniversary, Fr. Okura, one of the former parish priests returned to the parish to grace the joyful event. His guidance was instrumental to the Filipino leaders like Thelma Santiago Tomizawa to be faithful to their commitment as Catholics while residing in Japan. To reciprocate the usual parish support, the Filipinos are equally involved actively in the parish community activities. Children of Filipinos married to the locals for instance are enrolled in the parish catechism in preparation for their first communion and confirmation sacraments. They also help clean the church and assist the parish priest in various parish activities like the annual bazaar and the like. At its 20th anniversary event, several Japanese parishioners came to attend as well. Japanese couple had even sung a Filipino song as a touching expression of solidarity to KFCC.
More Filipinos attending Mass at Nishi Chiba
At Nishi Chiba parish last Sunday, February 5, 2017, there were more Filipinos who attended the first Sunday Mass than usual. The Church was remarkably full. Among those who attended the last Sunday Mass were parishioners identified to have come from Chibadera parish. Some came to know only recently about the First Sunday mass at Nishi-Chiba. Some of them also had attended the catechism conducted by a missionary from CTIC after the celebration of the Eucharist. The abrupt increase in the number of people attending the mass was attributed to the growing number of Filipinos who are coming to Japan to work in various industries. Some of them came with young children in tow. Early this year, the local newspapers had announced that Filipinos are now allowed to come to Japan to work as domestic workers in certain prefectures identified by the local government as in need of household service workers to allow local women to access domestic jobs that will increase local productivity and equally propel economic growth.