Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 2013 Newsletter


by Fr. Antonius “HARU” Harnoko, cicm

Wherever we are in Japan, summer time is the time of celebration. So many people rushed to go home, eagerly to be in their once in a lifetime furusato (homeland). Beaches and swimming pools were filled up by children and adults who longed for refreshment. Young couples and families were exchanging their loving memories under the beautiful hanabi (fireworks), while the elders were endlessly dancing the whole night to welcome their ancestors. Indeed, for us in Japan summer time is a time to celebrate with the living and the dead.

Personally, I am so glad to witness that most of us, in spite of being foreigners, took part actively in our respective Japanese community summer-festivals (natsu matsuri). It is by being together with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this time of celebration, we celebrate the realization of Jesus’ dream to be ONE family beyond boundaries.

If we read the Gospels, we will notice there that Jesus himself took part in so many “eating-and-drinking” sessions with His fellows and friends. In a festivity, Jesus taught us how good to be connected to one another, how wonderful to be enriched and energized by others. And, not in few times that many people were miraculously healed in that kind of bonding; bonding with God and fellow human.

Summer time will end in a moment. Another season is waiting at the corner. That, for many times, brings some time of unstable weather condition. It can give some impact to our daily life, but God is always good. Keep tight and keep smile, because there is always a reason to celebrate!

ON Forgiveness

Most of us were hurt in one way or the other. Perhaps a friend of ours talked ill about us, our partners had an affair, or our mother had criticized our skills on parenting. These wounds can leave us lasting feelings of anger, resentment - but if don't practice forgiveness, we might be the one who will pay dearly with our actions. Embracing forgiveness does not make us weak, rather it leads to peace of mind, hope, gratitude and joy.

What is forgiveness

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

How do I reach the state of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:
1. Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
2. Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you've reacted, and how this combination has affected your   life, health and well-being
3. When you're ready, actively choose to forgive the person who's offended you
4. Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.


FIL COM Miyagi - PAG ASA Ofunato - Bayanihan - Kessennuma Joins SanRiku Umi no Obon

With the invitation from the coordinator of SanRiku Umi no Obon, we made our presence felt through our participation on this local event by introducing our culture through dance.  As foreigners in this area we have a greater role to let the Japanese people know that we are here, and we are living in the disaster areas.

This years SanRiku Umi no Obon was held in Ofunato City.
Our participation to the event was through the invitation of Yamaguchi Sensei who wanted to make our presence felt in the disaster area through these activities.

"one for all, all for one po tayo" - Maria Lara Kikuchi


PAG ASA Joins Hakkengai Festival and Bon Odori

With the invitation from the local shotengai near the church, PAG ASA were invited again to join the bazaar and bon ordori.

This is the second time that the PAG-ASA member joined Jinomori Hakkengai Festival. We have our own booth, and we sell HALO-HALO and of course our very own PAG-ASA T-shirt.We danced the tinikling and  most especial to join us was Fr. Haru,he wore a Barong Tagalog.

After our performance, we challenged the audience to dance, and one of them was Fr. Gary. He quickly learned the steps. Hopefully he will join us next time. The best thing was when we danced the MACARENA with the japanase. And while dancing the music suddenly stopped......

By Haydee Kaiyama


at PAG ASA booth selling Halo Halo, T-shirt 

CD Recording in Ofunato Church

Friends of Fr. Harnoko from Tokyo wanted the voices of the Filipinos and their children for their upcoming CD and they requested our cooperation. Last Aug 18 after the mass, we had our recording for the song originally compose by Suemura san and Iwabuchi san entitled Shiawase na Hoshi.

recording with the children
During the mass, Iwabuchi san the guitarist had helped us in our songs for the mass. I can say that it was the most solemn mass I've celebrated in Ofunato. After the mass, we did our practice for the song. The children too had their part so they did their practice with Aiko san who was looking after them while the mothers were doing the recording.

Information and pictures from Haydee Kaiyama

the producer, composer, sound director and the singer. 

Happy Anniversary Fr. Haru

Together with the block rosary in Ofunato church last Aug 24, Fr. Haru celebrated his 12th anniversary of his priestly ordination. It was a simple celebration as the group gathered together to pray for Fr. Haru on this special day.

Care-Giver's Follow Up

fr. Haru with Joy, Sarah and Wenji
Those who are working as care-giver had their follow up with Fr. Haru and Aiko san last Aug 24 in Ofunato Church. They had  sharing about their work, their experiences with the people they work with, and the people they serve in the home for the aged. Although they had some difficulties with their work they also feel blessed to met the people who appreciate their way taking care for the elders.

They pointed out that they still need to study about the words that are exclusively used in the care-giving, and more help for them on how to input reports since they feel limited with the Japanese.

Mizusawa Church Baptism of Sato san

Last Aug 15 on the Feast of the Assumption to Heaven of Mary, the Filipinos in Mizusawa Catholic Church celebrated the baptism of Sato san. After two years of preparation and studies, he decided that he is ready for baptism.  Some of the Filipinos act as his god-mother.


Summer camp of Shirakawa Church

Shirakawa Catholic together with their parish priest Fr. Tanaka had their summer camp in Dominican house is Sendai. Lenny and Sister Margarete were also there to join and help in the summer camp activities of the children.

Fr. Tanaka was very happy after the summer camp because  the children in the Shirakawa Church were beginning to be united and feel one as members of the church. Now there is a growing number of children coming for the mass and also serve in the liturgy.

Onnahama Church Mass

Miku san on her first communion
Last Aug 10, second Saturday of the month we started to celebrate mass in Onnahama Catholic Church in Iwaki Fukushima Ken. We will try to make this mass a regular as possible from now. There were around 15 Filipinos who attended the mass, seafarers from the nearest port also took time to join in our mass.

During our mass, we celebrated the first communion of Miku san. She had been doing the preparation for the first communion and with the approval of her parish priest we conducted the first communion in Onnahama Church.

Noda Machi Mass

We would like to inform everybody in Fukushima area that we will have our regular mass from now on in Noda Machi Church every first sunday of the month at 4 in the afternoon.  We hope for more participation in our Tagalog mass from now on. Please help us inform others about this mass schedule in Noda Machi Church

Watari Catholic Church Mass

with Fr. Jose
Every fourth saturday of the month at 10 in the morning, we are celebrating Tagalog mass in Watari church. This month our parish priest Fr. Jose Gonzales joined us in our mass and a simple sharing.

 I introduced Fr. Jose to the group of Filipinos in the area and they were very happy to have a young and energetic priest.

Fr. Jose is living in Shiroishi Church and is
assigned in the four churches of the area namely, Kakuta Church, Watari, Shiroishi and Ogawara churches

Miyagi Area

Bayanihan- Kessennuma Joins the local Festival in Kessennuma City

Pilipino Community in Kessennuma
The Bayanihan - Kessennuma had join the local festival in the area. They joined in the parade and the street dance.

The presence of the Filipinos in the area is also highlighted due to their contribution as care-giver in the local home for the aged in the area.

Fil Com SENDAI In Action 

Aomori Ken AREA

Hirosaki Mass and Novena

Praise the Lord ,Halleluia , Salamat Panginoon sa isang taon naming samahan dito sa Hirosaki Philippine community ,Maraming salamat LORD sa iyong Gabay at sa mga taong dumalo at iyong idinagdag tuwing magkakaroon kami ng Mass . Salamat Sa lahat na mga Pari at mga Madre sila ang aming pastol na iyong ibinigay sa amin upang bantayan at alagaan ang aming buhay at pananampalataya .sa iyo.
Thank you Fr.Garry and Aiko chan sa pagpunta po ninyo lagi sa amin.Thank you din sa lahat ng mga mangagawa na mga kasamahan ko po .Lahat tayo ay mahal ng Diyos “ WHEREVER GOD MAY CALL YOU “…GOD is GOOD all the Time .



  Mary my Mother your love for us could not be greater or more powerful .You are rich in love and your power bring us relief .You want every one to be save . I beg you therefore protect  us in temtation and strengthen me when I awaken. I struggle daily to the faithful to Jesus your son .Help me my Mother at every moment .But above all take me by the hand when you see that I am weakening and about to fall . I will have to battle  with temptation till the day I die. My Lady you are my hope my refuge , my strength ,never let me lose the grace of God .In every temptation.I resolve to turn to you at once and pray . Mary help us .


Autumnal Equinox Day 

(秋分の日 Shūbun no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan that usually occurs on September 22 or 23, the date of Southward equinox in Japan Standard Time (autumnal equinox can occur on different dates for different timezones). Due to the necessity of recent astronomical measurements, the date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous year. Autumnal Equinox Day became a public holiday on 1948. In 1947 and before, it was the date of Shūki kōreisai ( 秋季皇霊祭), an event relating to Shintoism. Like other holidays, this holiday was repackaged as a non-religious holiday for the sake of separation of religion and state in Japan's postwar constitution.

Respect for the Aged Day 

(敬老の日 Keirō no Hi) is a Japanese holiday celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens.[1] It started in 1966 as a national holiday and held on every September 15. After 2003, the Respect for the Aged Day is held on the 3rd Monday of September due to the Happy Monday System.
This national holiday traces its origins to 1947, when Nomadani-mura (laterYachiyo-cho, currently Taka-cho), Hyōgo Prefecture proclaimed September 15 Old Folks' Day (Toshiyori no Hi). Its popularity spread nationwide, and in 1966 it took its present name and status. Annually, Japanese media take the opportunity to feature the elderly, reporting on the population and highlighting the oldest people in the country.


(月見) or Otsukimi, literally moon-viewing, refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon. The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese lunisolar calendar; the waxing moon is celebrated on the 13th day of the ninth month. These days normally fall in September and October of the modern solar calendar.
The tradition dates to the Heian era, and is now so popular in Japan that some people repeat the activities for several evenings following the appearance of the full moon during the eighth lunisolar month.
Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass(susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon. Sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon, while beans or chestnuts are offered to the waxing moon the following month. The alternate names of the celebrations, Imomeigetsu (literally "potato harvest moon") and Mamemeigetsu ("bean harvest moon") orKurimeigetsu ("chestnut harvest moon") are derived from these offerings.


           Dear Fr.Gary,

            It's been two years , since Pagasa was born. Within that two years, so many things had 

  happened. Sad and happy moments, problems and trials we encountered, and ofcourse different 

  challenges that just made us more stronger .During our ups and downs , we succeeded because 

  we received supports from the priests . And we thank them for that. But you know, one of our 

  success that was really doing good up to now, was the sales of our tshirt. 

           How rude of us to forget , that behind that success, it was you who designed the tshirt 

  deserves to be appreciated more. And for that we ask for an apology. Aside from the design, We 

  also wanna thank ,my Aebo ( Erva Sugawara ) for the color she suggested. Because of the good 

  team up , Pagasa Iwate is doing good . We want to take this opportunity to thank both of you,

  for the job well done. No need to elaborate more, coz you already know it, on behalf of all 

  Pagasa Iwate members I wanna thank the both of you from the bottom of my heart. 

            Thank you so much . 

                                                                                                  From: Pagasa Iwate
                                                                                                 Marife Sugawara

with the Tatsuno Family

in Fukuoka

in Osaka

                    in Sakai Church

This is a joint statement issued by J CARM, etc on the issue of forced mass deportation of undocumented Filipino migrants last month. 

Joint Statement 

We question and oppose the forced mass deportation of the 75 undocumented Filipino migrants because we found that their human rights were violated and their welfare is disregarded. 

We conducted individual and group interviews with 23 people deported back from Japan in the week of August 20-26 in the Philippines. 

They all need medical attention and counseling to some extent. Most suffer from symptoms of depression such as attempted suicide, insomnia, skin disorders, ulcer, aches and difficulty breathing. Their physical and psychological conditions deteriorated while in detention. Having lived in Japan for more than a decade, they feel alienated and helpless in their home country, and they are afraid to even venture out to the streets. They need proper assistance to readjust to the new environment. They have no money to start a new life, with some who are left under the care of their relatives with meager income, while others have no family or relatives to turn to. 

We demand that the Japanese government; 1) examine thoroughly and carefully in deciding the deportation 2) respect the deportees’ rights to access family and legal assistance before deportation; 3) prohibit an excessive use of handcuffs to manage the deportees because it is an act of torture and humiliation; 4) provide proper medical attention with a reference to the hospitals in the Philippines. 

We also demand that the Filipino government; 1) extend its support to fulfill urgent needs of the 75 deported undocumented migrants; 2) help those undocumented who wish to remain in Japan acquire legal status; 3) provide an accessible and tangible reintegration program designed for undocumented workers. 

We call on both governments to suspend the inhumane mass deportation. 


(Catholic Commission of Japan Migrants, Refugees and People on the Move) 

Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SMJ) 


(Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People) 


MASS SCHEDULES for September 2013
First Sat and Sun
Sept. 1 (Sun) - Noda Machi Catholic Church (English Mass) - 4 pm
Sept 7 (Sat) - Shirakawa Catholic Church (Tagalog Mass) - 13:00 pm

Second Sat and Sun and Wed
Sept 8 (Sun) - Hachinohe Catholic Church (English Mass) - 14:00 pm
Sept 11 (Wed) - Hirosaki Catholic Church (English Mass and Novena) - 11:00 am
Sept 14 (Sat) - Onnahama Catholic Church ( English Mass) - 15:00 pm

Third Sat and Sun
Sept 15 (Sun) - Ofunato Catholic Church (Tagalog Mass) - 13:00 pm
                      Ishinomaki Catholic Church (International Mass) -10:00 am
                      Minami San Riku (Tagalog Mass) - 14:00 pm
Sept 21 (Sat) - Ichinoseki Catholic Church (Tagalog Mass) - 14:00 pm

Fourth Sat and Sun
Sept 22 (Sun) -Ofunato Catholic Church (International Mass) - Shinjo Catholic Church Visits Ofunato - 15:00 pm
Sept 28 (Sat)- Watari Caholic Church (Tagalog Mass) - 10:00 am
                       Koriyama Catholic Church (English Mass) - 17:00 pm