Friday, October 25, 2013

November 2013


Faithful Mother
by Fr. Antonius Harnoko, cicm

Month of October is traditionally known as month dedicated to our Blessed Mother Mary. Some if not most of our communities are doing their various prayer activities dedicated to our Blessed Mother, such as rosary, vigil and pilgrimage. Let us ask ourselves why Mary’s role is important to our life as Christians.

I would like to share with you just 2 points why I believe that Mary plays an important role in our faith. One is being a mother and the second is being faithful.

To keep the world alive, all women are born to be mother, but not all are always saying YES to be one. Mary, when invited to be the mother of Jesus, said YES! To be mother is not an easy job, but Mary gave her whole life without condition for her son. Being a mother is both happy and risky vocation. It is because that a mother is holding both hope in a new life and responsibility for the future of her baby. Like many other women, Mary was in dilemma but she decided to accept the new life, Jesus’ life, in her womb.

Being faithful is an unspeakable virtue even today. Mary has shown to us how to be faithful in simple way which is through her unending presence beside her son, Jesus. It sounds simple but being present to someone, for better or for worse, is a difficult task. It requires oneself energy, time, courage, sacrifice and love. Mary, just like other mothers, loved so much her only son, even she had to walk along via dolorosa, the way of the Cross.

Let us ask ourselves how about me, about us? Surely, we are beyond compare to Mary but we are invited to be like her, to be a faithful mother every day.

Faith in ACTION

JCaRM National Seminar in Sendai
Theme : わたしたち、これから...3.11

mass with Bishop Hiraga Sendai Diocese

Marife shared about PAG ASA IWATE

group 3 participants welcomed at Ofunato Church


Fil Com Sendai in their dance number



Ofunato Church

Baptism in Ofunato

We are again blessed to have another  baptism in Ofunato. Ren kun the grandson of Marivic was baptised in the Ofunato Church in a simple celebration.  

Although it was rainy, many attended the mass and baptism.  Indeed the community are one to welcome Ren to the Christian community.

After the baptism, there is a simple fellowship that was done in the hall of the church. 

Ichinoseki Mass

From Tokyo I pass by Ichinoseki to celebrate our monthly Tagalog mass there. I am surprised to meet new faces during the mass.  Indeed Ichinoseki is so big and there are alot of Filipinos in the area, i look forward for more participants in our mass. 
during the Our Father

After the mass, we were allowed to use the parish hall for our fellowship. It was a simple meal but we shared it happily and we were able to have a longer time to talk and share about our situation in the area. 

with our altar servers
There was an invitation for the International Gathering in Ichinoseki. They ask me to attend it so that i could meet too the other Filipinos in the area and invite them for our monthly mass.

Indonesian Trainee (Kenshusei) in Iwate Ken

Fr. Harnoko met the Indonesian trainees who are assigned in Kita Kami area this month. Actually he got a call from one of them asking for help if he could go home for the funeral, it was a chance the Fr. Harnoko had met all of them. They are working in metal industry for vehicles in the area. 


Maria Miura, from Minami San Riku was featured in Manila Bulletin, one of the leading newspaper in the Philippines. She recalled her experience during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and how she and her family is surviving after two year.  Here is the full story from Manila Bulletin.

Pinay Recalls 2011 Japan Quake

Miyagi Prefecture, Japan — It was a tranquil, humid mid-afternoon on that tragic day of March 11,2011, described by Marie Miura, a Fil-Japanese living in the fishing village of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture as a perfect day for oyster and seaweed harvesting.

Marie, 39, hails from Pioduran, Albay, but now calls Japan her home for 17 years now due to her marriage to a Japanese. “My husband and father-in-law were preparing to harvest oyster and seaweed on that day. It was harvest season. My parents-in-law, husband, and I were at home in Hadenya Village, while my three children were in school when we felt a strong earthquake,” she recalled.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the most powerful earthquake to ever hit Japan, triggered tsunami waves that reached as high as 40.5 meters (133 feet).

“Right after the earthquake, my husband told me to seek shelter in a relative’s house just a few minutes away from our house because we were advised that a tsunami is coming. Our house is close to the sea, while the house of our relative was built on a higher ground,” Marie shared, saying that “me and my mother-in-law left for our relatives’ house, while my husband and father-in-law were left at home because they still have to bring the sack of rice to the upper floor of our house. When we were able to reach the house of our relative, we were informed that the tsunami was already about six meters.”

At that time, she said she was a bit confident that her children, aged four and six (twins) will be “saved” by their teachers.

As she recounted her harrowing experience, Marie broke down in tears. “I saw our house was washed out, nothing was left. I thought I already lost my husband and father-in-law.” She said their relative’s house was also reached by tsunami waters. They decided to evacuate to the Shrine of Jinja, which was about 500 meters away from their home.

She was able to receive news about her “missing” family members the next day. “My father-in-law was saved before nighttime of the following day, just like my husband and children. We didn’t have communication for almost a day. We decided to go down from the Shrine the next day to the evacuation center. The parents of my children’s classmates took our children to the evacuation site,” Marie said.

Disaster Day

“My father-in-law and husband have just finished securing some of our things. My husband was inside our rooms. We live near the sea and he saw the tsunami water moving towards him. He was not able to evacuate. Water in our room was rushing in, rising and he could no longer breathe. Before he knew, my husband was being swept towards the sea. The roof opened up and he realized he was in the middle of the sea. He said he felt he was surfing except that there was no surfing board,” Marie reminisced in between sobs.

“He and my father-in-law got separated. My father-in-law went up to our roof but my husband saw him being swept away. He felt helpless,” she added.

As Marie thought that her husband and father had perished, she said her husband also thought that she and her mother-in-law did not survive the tsunami because “he saw our relatives’ house being washed away.” “He did not know that we have left for the Jinja Shrine,” she said.

Marie recalled that her husband decided to fight for his life because he thought of their children who would be left behind. “It was nighttime when he was able to take shelter in a boat floating in the middle of the sea but the engine is running low on gasoline. He decided to turn off the engine. It was cold and pitch black. A few hours later, he saw another boat moving close to where he was. Luckily, it was a friend. He was brought to his friend’s house so he can change into dry clothes. We were reunited through our relatives who where contacted by his friend.”

She never thought that she would still see her family members alive after their harrowing experience. “We cried when we saw each other again,” she said. “We were lucky enough to have survived the tsunami because thousands of people here have died,” she added.

Two Years Later

Since the tsunami hit the fishing village, Minamisanriku has been known as “the town that disappeared.”

Maria Miura san with the Minami San Riku Community Mass
At present, Marie works as a part-time employee in one of the support centers for resettlement areas around Minamisanriku. Marie’s family is still into seaweed and oyster farming. “Our income was not the same as before. My salary at the government support center is mostly for household and school expenses but very little is left for savings,” Marie said. “We have already completed the building of a bigger boat for our business. We are slowly adjusting,” she enthused.

But two years after the earthquake and tsunami, she and her family remain in the Sonomya Temporary Housing Settlement with 20 other families. She said they are still awaiting the completion of construction of the permanent houses provided by the Japanese government. “The construction of our house has not yet started. We might be staying in the temporary housing for the next two to three years,” she said.

Despite the trauma and fear, Marie was firm in staying in Minamisanriku. “Our livelihood is here; my family is here so I will never leave this place.”

(Manila Bulletin Ellalyn De Vera met an excited and cheerful Marie Miura during a tour of the tsunami-devastated area in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture in Japan with 11 other international journalists as part of the three-nation fellowship on Disaster Management and Resiliency in the Asia-Pacific Region, sponsored by Honolulu-based East-West Center.)

click link to see the story.


Onnahama Mass

Fr. Harnoko celebrated the mass in Onnahama church in Iwaki last Oct. 5. During the mass we celebrated the first communion of Kenji. Kenji had been preparing for his first communion in the Philippines, but he was not able to do it in the Philippines because they transfered  to Japan this year. I met the family last month during the mass in Onnahama and Kenji`s mother ask me if he could recieved his first communion. I readily said yes, since Kenji is already prepared and had known the meaning of communion very well. It was a blessing for Kenji and his family
Kenji kun with Fr. Haru, his mom and sister


Akita Prayer Vigil

The Hirosaki community joined the Pilgrimage and Prayer Vigil in Akita in Seitai Hoshikai Convent. It was an overnight prayer vigil which started from 10 in the evening and end with the mass of Bishop Kikuchi of Niigata Diocese. Fr. Tou joined them in the vigil. The group from Hirosaki joined in the prayer vigil in Tagalog at around 12 midnight. The prayer vigils were divided in different languages and after the prayers, there was a live satelite feed from Rome that the pilgrims watch til the the next morning. At 5 in the morning, the mass was celebrated.

Religious Holidays

All Saints Day and All Souls Day

In Western Christianity, All Souls' Day, also known as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed, is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it;[1] the observance is the third day of Hallowmas and annually occurs on November 2. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed from the temporal punishment due to venial sins and from attachment to mortal sins cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass. In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven.  In the Anglican Communion, the intermediate state is known as Hades (Bosom of Abraham), and as a result "the Church has always held that it is right and proper for us to pray the souls of the departed, that they may go from grace to grace until they are finally received in Heaven," which will occur after the Resurrection of the Dead and theGeneral Judgment.

The official name of the celebration in the Roman Rite liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is "The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed". Another popular name in English is Feast of All Souls. In some other languages the celebration, not necessarily on the same date, is known as Day of the Dead.

The Western celebration of All Souls' Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints' Day. In the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, if 2 November falls on a Sunday, the Mass is of All Souls, but the Liturgy of the Hours is that of the Sunday, though Lauds and Vespers for the Dead in which the people participate may be said. In the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and in the Anglican Communion, All Souls Day is instead transferred, whenever 2 November falls on a Sunday, to the next day, 3 November.

The Eastern Orthodox Church dedicates several days throughout the year to the dead, mostly on Saturdays, because of Jesus' resting in the Holy Sepulchre on that day. In the Methodist Church, saints refer to all Christians and therefore, on All Saint's Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation are honoured and remembered.'_Day


Shichi-Go-San Festival

Shichi-Go-San is said to have originated in the Heian Period amongst court nobles who would celebrate the passage of their children into middle childhood. The ages 3, 5 and 7 are consistent with East Asian numerology, which claims that odd numbers are lucky. The practice was set to the fifteenth of the month during the Kamakura Period.[1]

Over time, this tradition passed to the samurai class who added a number of rituals. Children—who up until the age of three were required by custom to have shaven heads—were allowed to grow out their hair. Boys of age five could wear hakama for the first time, while girls of age seven replaced the simple cords they used to tie their kimono with the traditional obi.[2] By the Meiji Period, the practice was adopted amongst commoners as well, and included the modern ritual of visiting a shrine to drive out evil spirits and wish for a long healthy life.

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