(Delivered on the occasion of the International Mass at Tokyo Cathedral)
As auxiliary bishop and on behalf of the staff of CTIC and the preparatory committee for the International Mass in celebration of the World Sunday of Migrants and Refugees, I would like to share a short message. In the Catholic church, we have the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and this year, we are celebrating the 101st year. This annual celebration depends on every country. In Japan, we celebrate it on the 4th Sunday of September. In the Archdiocese of Tokyo, we are having this International Day celebration today. We might come from different countries and for different reason but as a Church we gather as one, regardless of our differences. Some of us might have come for job opportunities, others for business, while others come to study and some others are married to the Japanese. For this year`s message of the Holy Father, “The Church without Frontiers, Mother of All” as theme challenges us in the church to accept our differences. Pope Francis in his travel from Cuba to America for a pastoral visit had attracted a lot of news. While in the US, he spoke at the United Nation Headquarters and his message was “The contemporary world so apparently connected is experiencing a growing and steady social fragmentation.” Recently, the presence of the foreigners in Tokyo and all over Japan is very noticeable. I wonder if we are really connected to one another? There are many difficulties but we should over come our differences in order to be one. Here lies the big role of the Church, on how to keep us united. Hence, this celebration of International Day attempts to move towards that direction.
After the mass, there are three activities available for all of us. First, there are food kiosks that would serve international food. Secondly, there is the Bible Quiz for the children, which could be a chance for the children to meet other kids from other parishes. And third, a cultural program which will showcase different presentations from various ethnic communities for all of us to enjoy. Due to strict health requirements, the preparatory committee for this International Day can only offer Korean food from the Korean community. The kitchen carts operators though they may not be Christians offer food from different countries. What is important is the gesture of eating together after the Mass, which has a very significant meaning for us, Christians. All these activities were prepared by CTIC staff and the preparatory committee for all to enjoy. I wish to invite as much as possible all the children to take part in this rare opportunity. As what Jesus has said, “Look, here are my brothers and sisters.” Today together, let us enjoy each other`s company and experience the presence of God.