Celebrating Lent meaningfully

Lenten Season will begin soon.  It will start on the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday, March 6 and will end on Holy Thursday, April 18.  The forty-day preparation for the Easter celebration allows every Catholic to commemorate significantly the beautiful liturgical and spiritual tradition that is available to every devout Catholic.  Even for non-practicing Catholics, Ash Wednesday would be an occasion to go to Church.  for the very devout Catholics however, this is the time to start with the usual observation of fasting, abstinence and prayer.  These spiritual exercises are then extended to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and do more charitable acts.

There are other religious expressions that are being observed by other Catholic communities depending on how they have been religiously oriented or formed by their own parishes or local churches in their catechism.  Many devotional Lenten practices are in fact introduced from the various traditions that the Catholics Church is so wealthy of but mainly originated from medieval agricultural European setting.

In certain countries where popular religiosity still holds very strongly, the Stations of the Cross, pilgrimages, Visita Iglesia and attending Lenten recollection and retreats are just some of the beautiful religious practices that Catholics would love to observe during Lenten Season.  Observing these religious events is not just a break from their usual mundane activities, but they are also likened to important family affair for those very devout Catholic families and clans.  In the Philippines for instance, there is `Pabasa` that is normally held in private homes or barangay halls, particularly during the Holy Week. Pabasa`  is a non-stop chanting of the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus based roughly on the Bible.  Some families are still popularly practicing the Pabasa` as part of their family devotion, especially in rural areas.  Moreover, there is also the live dramatization of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ particularly when the Holy Week is fast approaching.  This is popularly known as `Pasyon`.  It is one of the most demanding Lenten observance, because people would devout themselves to memorizing lines as dialogues in their nightly theatrical performance.  Mainly done by the devout youth organization with great supervision of their catechists, the `Pasyon` though fascinating is unfortunately losing interest among the youth or probably because it requires a lot more expenses in its stage production because of the use of props, costumes, and sound system.

Depending on how popular devotions are practiced in certain towns, the celebration of the Season of Lent is one that brings a lot of solemnity, peace, and spirituality among the people.  May each Catholic in the country especially among the devout foreigners find a lot of meaning and spiritual fulfillment in their own religious practices during this season of Lent.

Word for the Month:



Pope`s Intention for the Month

March 2019:

Recognition of the Right of Christian Communities

That Christian communities, especially those who are persecuted, feel that they are close to Christ and have their rights respected.


Pope Francis` Apostolic Exhortation


CTIC`s Sunday Consultation Service Schedule 2019:

January 20

February 3, 17

March 3, 17

April 7

May 5, 19

June 2, 16

July 7, 21

August 4, 18

September 1, 15

October 6, 20

November 3, 17

December 1, 15

Filipino Mass at St. Anselm`s celebrates 2nd Year

Last Sunday, 2 February 2019, there were more parishioners than usual who attended the Fillipino Mass at St. Anselm`s Parish Church at Meguro.  They tried their best to be present despite the very cold winter evening, because it was the second year that the Filipino community had started celebrating mass in Filipino language since the parish priest, Fr. Marco Martinez and his council had approved their request.  They are those who could not join the usual Sunday mass because of the demand of their work on Sunday.

The Mass celebrated on Saturday evening has always been convenient to many of them considering that they still work until six in the evening.  From their jobs, they have to run to Meguro church, which is conveniently located close to the train station to catch the only Filipino Mass probably existing in Japan at 7:30 in the evening of Saturday.

After the Mass, a huge number of them had congregated to the parish hall to partake on the food that they prepared for the parishioners.  What is a celebration without a great food to feast upon?  Out of their generosity, the parishioners brought all kinds of food, mainly Filipino dishes.  The presence of the parish priest at the reception made them extra happier.  The leaders thanked Fr. Marco Martinez for having allowed the Filipino mass to flourish.  Usually presided by Fr. Edwin Corros, the assistant director of CTIC, at least a hundred people are regularly attending the Mass on Saturday evening at Meguro parish.  That number had more than doubled when it was initially celebrated in February 2017.


Filipinos` presence in Kiyose counts 22 years

The members of the Kiyose Filipino Catholic Community (KFCC) pride themselves to be one of the earliest and probably the most cohesive foreign communities based in the parish that have existed  in the Archdiocese of Tokyo.  Thanks to the commitment of the leaders who have always kept the group actively involved with the parish life of Kiyose Catholic Parish Community.  "They have always been part of the parish system, minus probably the parish registration that only a few have opted to do," according to Mrs. Thelma Tomizawa, one of the KFCC original members and the current recognized parish leader.  Many of the members who are already past forty years old have their children baptized in the parish and are equally active in the Japanese Catholic parish community.  They could barely understand Filipino or English language hence the  Japanese Mass is where they go as part of their Sunday obligation.

At their twenty-second anniversary celebration last February 17, after the Filipino Mass at four o`clock in the afternoon, the parishioners moved to the parish hall to share on the food that the community had prepared.  The celebration was modest.  There were no formalities made unlike in the past years.  They merely had few dance presentations and community singing.  They also danced the "Kuracha," which is famous in some Visayan provinces in the Philippines to raise funds for a Filipina who committed suicide recently.   That is how charitable the KFCC members are.  They try their best to be of help even in a little way to show their usual concern.

Catechism at Akabane consistently attracts large participation

The monthly catechism for the Filipino community frequenting the parish church in Akabane consistently attracts a large number of participants  for the past years.  What makes this religious activity relatively attractive besides the mass that the Filipino parishioners would participate is the fact that it is given immediately after celebrating the weekly Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish.  Most of those who attend are actually encouraged to be present and listen to the monthly catechism that is conducted in Filipino by Fr. Edwin D. Corros, a Scalabrinian missionary, or Sr. Tess Layson of the Salesian Sisters.  Both religious knowledge to about 35 or more Filipino regular attendees.

As volunteers to the various ministries serving the Wednesday Mass, they are assured of the regular on-going faith formation through this first Wednesday catechism.  Fr. Edwin has begun teaching catechism to the Filipino parishioners of Akabane church since he arrived in Japan in 2014.  The Scalabrinian missionary has been regularly accompanying the community through catechism; values and leadership formation activities.  Based on the community`s record to date, the Filipino community in Akabane keeps a regular liturgical server of forty-two.  They help not only in the liturgical celebration but also in facilitating other religious activities such as recollection, Simbang Gabi, Visita Iglesia and pilgrimage to Mt. Fuji.