Monday, February 3, 2014

February 2014

For Our Reflection

Sharing our GIFTS

A Reflection on Mark 4: 21-25

Are the gifts that God has given you meant to be kept for yourself (i.e., hidden)? Every good gift that you've received – your talents, your hard-earned money, your wisdom, your home, etc. – is a beam of the light of Christ trying to shine outward from you.

Why do we sometimes hide our gifts? It's because we think they're not enough – not good enough, not ready enough, or not humble enough to show them to others and let them shine.

We are treasure chests full of gifts! To share these treasures requires exposing ourselves, opening up the lid and letting others look inside to pick up and use the gifts that could benefit them. Does the thought of that make you feel too vulnerable?

We cannot do much for the kingdom of God without exposing what we naturally want to protect. Jesus exposed his back to the scourging whips, his head to thorns, and his body to the pain of the cross, because he loves you! Are you willing to expose his presence within you by sharing your gifts so that others may discover that Jesus loves them, too?

Exposing the light in us means sharing our gifts even when it's inconvenient. It means offering our gifts to others even when it results in rejection and ridicule. It means that when we get hurt for openly sharing ourselves, instead of closing up and running away, we choose to become stronger in loving others unconditionally.

When we share our giftedness, we share Jesus. One of the greatest gifts we receive is the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and when we let others experience his true presence within us, we become Eucharist for them.

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Faith in Action

Ofunato Base Celebrated it Second Anniversary

Last January 13, the Ofunato base marked its second anniversary. Bishop Matsuura Goro, Auxiliary of the Diocese of Osaka celebrated the thanksgiving mass in Ofunato Church. Fathers Matsumura, Haruna Harnoko and Garry concelebrated in the mass.

The Bishop offered the mass for  recovery and for strengthening the bond of unity among the people who work for the recovery of people in the disaster areas. The bishop also told a story of the little boy who was playing with a ball and while chasing the ball he fell down, then came child who fell down beside him and ask him can we get up together? The story reflects on how are we going to work together with people who are in the disaster areas, we never pull their hands to get up, we never ask them unnecessary questions, but we just stay with them, fell with them and support them if they start to stand and together we walk with them.

After the mass Fr. Harnoko introduced the priest from Osaka Fr. Haruna and Fr. Matsumura and they introduced themselves to the community. Then we moved together to the base to celebrate the second anniversary with the Christians and some people who are from the nearest temporary housing.

In the evening, we had a nabe party with the local people in the area especially those from the Hakkengai, the different NPO who are working in Ofunato and some Christians who also attended the evening party.

with the people from the Temporary housing

with the hakkengai and the NPOs working in Ofunato


First Block Rosary in Rikuzen Takata for 2014

January 11 on the second Saturday of the month the Ofunato group gathered together in the Church to pray and offer the rosary. After the rosary we have our usual lunch together, Hana cooked my favourite ginuguan and Terry cooked a hot soup (chicken sotanghon).

After the meal, we went to Amy`s house in Takata to have the  rosary and the moving our of the statue of the Mother Mary to a new house. There were around 15 if us including the children who pray together the rosary. After the prayer we had a simple fellowship and we move the statue of the Blessed Virgin to Angie`s house.

In Ofunato, we did our first rosary of the year at first satruday of the month. It was also Ms. Rose Sasakis birthday and after the prayer we went out to eat together to celebrate her birthday and thanksgiving.

Miyako Catholic Church

Fr. Harnoko celebrated the mass in Miyako church on the third saturday of the month. He came to visit Emmie to help her in sending some boxes of relief goods of the typhoon victims in the Philippines. That day Fr. Sato brought with some some Filipinos who are living in Kuji Cho and they celebrated the mass together in Miyako church. Fr. Sato told us that there are quit a number of Filipinos in the area and that in the future maybe we can celebrate mass with them there.  Am glad that Fr. Sato brought them together in Miyako and we will try our best to  celebrate a regular mass with the community.


Hachinohe Mass

Last Jan. 12, I celebrated the mass in Hachinohe Community.  There around 50 of us who are gathered for the mass. Although it was snowing and it was freezing we made it in time for the mass that day. It also marks our first mass of the year and we hope and pray that we will be strengthen and blessed together as we welcome the new year.
The community is always blessed to have a guitarist and a choir group who lead in the mass, but i heard the some people will be going home next month since they finished their contracts in the company and one of them is our guitarist. We are somehow sad about the news but we know God will provide us with another.
After the mass, most of us left early due to the fear of heavy snow.  I also left early since I took the train from Ichinoseki to Hachinohe.


Onnahama Mass

Fr. Harnoko celebrated the mass in Onnahama Church. There were also seafarers who came to the mass, thanks to Thelma for the time and taking them from their ship to the church. Its really of great help for the seafarers who have little chance to join in masses in the port where they are docked for some days.

Iwaki Mass

with the parish council of Iwaki and the Parish Priest

We had our mass in Iwaki church this month. Although we were very few we were able to make a good preparation for our mass. We have a wonderful choir who is always there to make our mass lively.

Before the mass, i met the council president of Iwaki Church. They gave their donation for the project of Fr. Resty, CS in the Philippines who is helping in building a temporary house for the people in Tacloban who lost their houses in the typhoon Yolanda last year.

Shirakawa and Sukagawa Mass

Fr. Harnoko celebrated the mass in Shirakawa Church and Sukagawa for this month. Normally we celebrate a Japanese mass and the group were ask to read in English one of the readings for the day, offer the prayers and sing one or two songs in the mass. Indeed the community are one in celebrating the mass.

Noda Machi Mass

We had our mass after some months since i was not able schedule properly the mass in this area.  After talking with the leaders we decided to have our mass at 3 pm last Feb. 2 in Noda Machi church. I came from Tokyo for a meeting and pass by Fukushima to celebrate the mass with the group. I am able to meet the groups former leader Ms. Kaye and we had a some small talk for some plans.
During the mass, there were around 20 of us who gathered for the celebration.


Ishinomaki Church Mass

On the third sunday of the month we have masses at Ishinomaki. This mass is in Japanese and I give my sharing in Tagalog and Japanese. This is our first mass for the year and I am very happy to see many Filipinos who attended the mass this day.

Watari Church Mass

We had our mass on the fourth saturday of the month in this community. Fr. Jose is always there to support the group during the mass. After the mass during our fellowship, one of those who attended the mass for the first time, asked for the baptism of her baby. With Fr. Jose who is present that time, I ask the group to first tell their parish priest for the planned baptism.

Ichinoseki Catholic Church

On the third Satruday of the month we celebrated the mass in Ichinoseki church. We were lucky to have the trainees who are working in Senmanya who attended our mass that day. The choir from Mizusawa church also came to helped us in the singing during our mass.

Minami San Riku Mass on the Feast of Sto. Nino

Every third sunday of the month we gather together in the temporary shelter of Amelia Sasaki in Minami san Riku for our sunday mass.
We celebrated together the feast of Santo Nino and also pray together to welcome the new year.  We were very few due to the heavy snow so some of our members could not make it to our celebration. But we were very happy because Fathers Aizu and Kawasaki were there to be with us in our celebrations. What made this mass also special are the songs prepared by the group. Jojo and Aiko san made a good accompaniment with the guitar in our singing for the mass.
As usual after the mass, each member bought their own speciality and we shared them together. Minami san Riku is also special because during our gathering we could not miss the chance to share our ghost stories,  and  I am surprised myself that Fr. Aizu too have his own experiences in Iahinomaki Kindergarten school where the speaker of the sound system in the auditorium will just suddenly make a sound? Creepy but he said, maybe they did not know that they are dead. So they were just playing with us. But Fr. Aizu told us that we should never stop praying for those people and that we hope that those who are still missing will be returned to their families.

Report of Donation for Yolanda Victims

Donation for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda
Financial Report (Nov.2013 ~ Jan.2014)

Sendai Support Center for Foreigners
 (In Japanese Yen)
Nov. 20
Matsubara parishioner

Nov. 22
Sent to CTIC (c/o Fr. Resty)


Senboku parishioner

Dec. 8

Pag-Asa Iwate

Pag-Asa Iwate children

Ryori group

Dec. 15
Pag-Asa Iwate


Sent to Caritas Japan

Jan. 21
Matsubara parishioner


Jan. 22
Relief goods sending fare


Introduction to Japanese Culture

Winter is a busy travel season in Japan. If you are planning to visit Japan this holiday season, it’s wise to make train reservations in advance. Here are the winter-season Japanese holidays.

New Year (January 1) 

The New Year ((お正月) is the most important of all Japanese holidays. The entire country shuts down from December 30 to January 3. Oshogatsu (New Year) is often celebrated with bonenkai (year-forgetting) parties to leave the old year’s troubles and worries behind. A widely practiced Japanese custom is to prepare toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles) on New Year’s Eve to represent longevity. The sending of New Year’s cards is a very popular practice among the Japanese.

Seijin no Hi (January 10)

Seijin no Hi (成人の日 , Coming of Age Day) welcomes individuals who have reached the age of majority (20 years) over the past year and encourage their roles as adults in society. Ceremonies are usually held at the prefectural and local offices, and family and friends host after-parties.
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