400-Year-Old Painting Used By ‘Hidden Christians’ Restored And Displayed

28 10 2008

February 16, 2006  

KYOTO, Japan (UCAN) — Kyoto University Museum is displaying a restored 16th-century painting depicting Mary and the Child Jesus, saints and the mysteries of the rosary. It was used during centuries of persecution by Japan’s “hidden Christians.”


The scroll painting, measuring 76.5 centimeters tall and 63.6 centimeters wide, was restored to nearly its original state to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Francis Xavier. The Jesuit saint, who arrived in Japan in 1549 as a missioner, is one of the saints pictured.

The scroll was discovered in 1930, hidden in a bamboo tube, in the attic of a house in Otowa, a small mountain village outside Osaka. Since then it has been kept at nearby Kyoto University, about 370 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.

article here


The Omission Of Mission?

26 10 2008

82nd World Mission Sunday was 2008, Oct. 19.

article here

TOKYO (UCAN) — In a message for World Mission Day 2008, Pope Benedict XVI says, “It is therefore an urgent duty for everyone to proclaim Christ and his saving message.”

How are we responding to that urgent duty here in Asia?

Here in Japan, the bishops’ conference or its committees issue statements for various “Days” that the Church marks with prayers and collections. As usual, however, this year’s World Mission Day will pass without any official notice from the Church leadership.

We seem to be infected with a missionary malaise.

I agree with all of the above and at last Sunday`s mass no mention was made of World Mission Sunday.

Christians face persecution in India and other places, and being a Christian is challenging in more places, but we are for the most part comparatively free to live and proclaim our faith in Asia. The constraints on that proclamation are generally not outside us, but within ourselves and our communities.

I agree once again.  Being a Catholic in Japan is probably a lot easier than being a Catholic in even Western Countries these days I think.  The average Japanese person, in my experience, has no hatred, prejudice, or dislike of Catholicism usually they know very little about it.  Many have traveled to Europe and have visited at least one church while there so that is an easy topic to introduce a bit of Catholicism.   On subjects like abortion and gay marriage it is much easier to have a discussion about Catholic views Ive found because most people here are at least willing to hear you out especially if you use direct quotes from the Pope or Catechism.

I easily recommend books, movies, music, restaurants and websites to others, but am I as forthright in recommending what Saint Paul calls the “surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus?” If I truly believe that the proclamation of Christ is the will of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, I might be another Paul, who said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.”

Part of the reason I used to be reluctant in talking about religion with people was I didn’t know enough about it to defend it  Now Ive learned enough to feel comfortable discussing my faith and try to do so at appropriate times.  I also used to be wary of possible hostile reactions from people, however, the Holy Spirit has given me courage, and as I have said before most people here wont react with blatant hate and hostility.

The fact is that billions of our brothers and sisters on this year’s World Mission Day will not “know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” They will not know they are children of a loving God.

But they have the right to know this, and our timidity in proclaiming the Gospel is an injustice against them and against God who commissioned us in baptism to be heralds of the Gospel. Do I have the right to deprive others of that knowledge through my sins of omission?

I didnt know this until recently but one of the spiritual works of mercy is to instruct the ignorant so knowing that I now understand how failure to do so could be a sin of omission.  Once people are told about Christ it is up to them to accept or reject Him however we have to hold up our end and at least mention Christ first.  As Cardinal Francis Arinze says ” you can propose but you dare not impose.”

Parents of St. Therese

25 10 2008

Parents of St. Therese are fruitful witnesses of conjugal love, says Cardinal Saraiva

The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, has called the parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, now Blesseds Luis Martin and Zelie Guerin, “two witnesses of conjugal love” who raised their children firmly in the Christian faith, thus becoming an example for Christian spouses.

article here

Knights leader asks synod to consider linking Mass readings, catechism

24 10 2008

article here

The part that caught my attention was this.

The superior general, who was elected in January after decades of work in Asia, said that during his years in Japan he noticed people, Christians and non-Christians alike, were a lot more interested in the Bible than in traditional Catholic catechesis.

“The most important fruit of the word of God for the majority of people is that it offers an alternative: a different world, the world of God, the world of compassion, hope and community,” he said.

Simply reading about God’s vision for the world, he said, “is already a source of hope for many.”

So fellow Catholics become more familiar with the Bible, especially the Gospels, and don’t be afraid of talking to people about the things Jesus did.  With the recent financial crisis a good story  you could relate to people is when Jesus throws the money changers out of the temple.

Spanish abortion supporters call for church burnings

22 10 2008

In my last post I mentioned we should be careful not to dismiss the violence against Christians in India as something that would never happen in our own cities and towns, well today I came across this article.

On October 18, a group of 40 feminists gathered to counter the pro-life protests, which brought out four times as many people. They passed out boxes of matches with the picture of a burning church and the caption, “The only church that brings light is the one that burns.  Join us!”

Thoughts on Martyrdom

21 10 2008

Basically I never thought about it before I came to Japan, and it never really deeply affected me until I went to a church in Kamakura.  My original post on that church here.  The photos below were not taken during mass by the way.

At that church, surrounding the baptismal font, they have paintings of martyrs.  If you attend mass and are seated on the left side of the church you will come face to face with the paintings right after receiving the Holy Eucharist.  The church is not my regular parish, I was just visiting, however I saw the paintings once again and was deeply affected by them.   I wonder if in my life I will be called to walk the same path and if I could endure it?  To the first question I don’t know but to the second one I think with the help of teh Holy Spirit I would have the ability to walk any path.  Remember what is going on in India right now click here. I think we should be careful not to dismiss such stories as unlikely in our own time and backyards.

Mr. Bean Goes to Church

18 10 2008

This is hilarious.