Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 2014

For Our Reflection

For our reflection, I would like to share the post of Fr. Harnoko for all of us.  We pray for Fr. Harnoko on his new journey in the Philippines. He had visited most of the communities here in Sendai Diocese, we express our thanks to him for all the things he has done for our community. 

Here is Fr. Haru's prayer for all of us.
In the chapel of our mother house (Himeji), this morning I prayed, "Lord, I have left Ofunato and Sendai Diocese with so much gratitude. It is YOU who called me there to be with so many loving people. It is YOU who gave me this so much wonderful journey, to be with them in their misery as well as their joy. In these past 3 years, they have changed my life to be more hopeful, to be more compassionate especially when life is so desperate. I don't have enough words to thank them, but I trust in YOUR care for the community of Ofunato PAG ASA and Bayanihan Kesennuma, Minamisanriku and Ishinomaki, Sendai, Hirosaki and Hachinohe, Miyako and Kuji, Ichinoseki and Misuzawa, Watari and Fukushima, Iwaki and Onahama, Shirakawa and Sukagawa. Bless all my friends, oh Lord! Amen."

Faith in Action


Recollection in Shirakawa

Lenny and Sister Margarete guided the Shirakawa community during their lenten recollection. Choosing the theme : Being a Beloved Children of God, they help the group to reflect and to prepare for Easter. There were 12 people who joined in the recollection. Each one were given the opportunity to share about their own reflections on the theme. 
After the recollection, we had the chance to meet Fr. Emil who will be the priest in Shirakawa church. We agree to continue the work together and collaborate with him in the ministry in the Shirakawa community

Koriyama Community Recollection

The Koriyama community had their recollection for the lenten season. Fr. Garry guided the group to reflect on how to prepare ourselves for the Easter Feast. Since it was also the cleaning day of the church, the group joined in the cleaning first and we gathered together in the chapel and had our recollection. 
After the talk each one prepared themselves to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. Indeed it was a meaningful preparation for the Easter feast. 

Noda Machi Mass

The Noda Machi community celebrated the mass together last April 6 in Noda Machi Fukushima Church. There were 15 of us who gathered together to pray and celebrated the mass. 
After the mass the group met for the first time to talk about the preparation of the upcoming event this coming May 18 in Fukushima. The Hawak Kamay group have a new coordinator and she was encouraging each one to unite and cooperate for the group. 

Thank you  Fr. Haru

Fr. Haru guided the recollection in Mizusawa community and the community take this opportunity to thank Fr. Haru for the services he had done here in the diocese. The Mizusawa choir  and community prepared a program for Fr. Haru. 

A photo taken after the mass with Fr. Takahashi

Mass in Kuji

I arrived an hour before we have our mass, upon my arrival Fr. Sato welcomed me and guided me to the Kindergarten hall to celebrate the Palm Sunday there.
We celebrated the mass in both language in order to to be understood by both Japanese and Filipinos who were present in the Mass. I believe that big celebrations such as Palm Sunday should be understood by all those who are present in the mass.

Baptism in Kuji Church

During the Easter mass in Kuji the daughter of Geraldine was baptised. The Hachinohe community  came to join in the celebration. Fr. Sato celebrated the Easter mass and officiated the baptism. The baptism was done in the Kindergarten hall. After the mass, there was a simple celebration and sharing prepare by the group. 

The kindergarten hall was decorated for the celebration of Easter and Baptism.

Indonesian Group gathered for Farewell Party for Fr. Haru

As Fr. Harnoko tried to balance between cleaning, packing and preparing to move Himeji, he still give time to people for the last minute. Last April 22, the Indonesian group gathered together to for simple farewell and thanksgiving for Fr. Haru. Tati, Minami, Enchan, Dennis, and Zaky came to gathered together to say their thanks to Fr. Haru. 

Meanwhile the younger members of the Hakkengai came to the church  to invite us for a meal. They brought us to カフエビアンin San Riku cho Ofunato. The cafe is nicely located above the mountain overlooking the beautiful seaside of SanRiku. 

Dig in. Each of us have his own order of curry rice, spaghetti etc.
Will try their hamburger set when I return soon.

Fr. Haru's Easter Mass and Farewell Party in Ofunato Church

Last Easter Sunday, Fr. Harnoko celebrated the mass in Ofunato church. Fr. Harnoko had been assigned as parish priest of Ofunato and Kamaishi Churches from April 2013-April 2014.  Fr. Haru celebrated the Holy week masses in Ofunato and the Easter mass here. After the mass, the community in thanking Fr. Haru gave a simple farewell party. 

From the post of Terada sensei, i found this

「はるのこうた」。桜満開の春に大船渡、日本を離れることになった惇心会のインドネシア出身、アントニウス・ハルノコー (Antonius Harnoko) 神父に捧げる歌が、今日、披露され、皆で歌われました。山浦玄嗣作詞、吉田美和作曲です。「ハルノコ歌」でもあり「春の小唄」でもあり。写真は作詞者と作曲者


Hachinohe Mass

Thank you so much for the preparation the Hachinohe community for a simple birthday celebration after the mass. 
We had the Palm Sunday celebration in Hachinohe Church. Fr. Sato join in our celebration. There were around 30 of us who gathered together to celebrate the Palm Sunday. 

I never expected to blow a candle on my 41st birthday. Thank you so much for your care and the preparations you did after the mass.  


Minami San Riku Community Farewell Party for Fr. Haru

Last April 20, Fr. Haru celebrated his last mass in Minami San Riku community. Fr. Aizu who has been supporting the group and our activities for the Sendai Diocese Support Center for Foreigner also joined in the celebration.  It was also an opportunity for the group to give Fr. Harnoko his farewell party. After the mass the group prepared a simple meal to celebrate Easter and thanksgiving to Fr. Haru.

News From Ishinomaki

I just got this post from Adel Sato of Ishinomaki Church, congratulating Fr. Aizu on his 25th Year of his ordination. Fr. Aizu has been very very generous with our mission and had been helping a lot of Filipinos in Kessenuma, Minami San Riku, Ishinomaki, Ofunato, Yonekawa and other areas. We pray for Fr. Aizu on his 25th year of ordination as a priest. 

My Encounter with a Missionary from the Philippines

Me and Erva were very lucky to meet Fr. Luc Colla. He was here in japan for three

weeks. After his 35 years of stay in the Philipines he was asked to go back to Rome. He was

telling different stories regarding his stay in the Philippines. And I was trying to looked at his face.

Trying to see how he feels about leaving the country he had spent half of his life. Since I got no

answer, out of curiosity, I asked him this question,” which is more hurting, the one who's leaving

or the one who was being left?” And he simply answered me, the one who was being left. Well said.

Thank you Fr. Luc for giving your service and love to my fellow Filipinos.

BY: Marife Sugawara

with Fr. Luc during his visit in Ofunato

April 2 Chile Earthquake 

Last April 2 we heard the news about the earthquake in Chile. The day after that we have the tsunami warning raised in Tohoku. I was in Osaka myself this day and I was calling Aiko san to know the situation in Ofunato. Here is what Aiko had recorded in our activity log for April 2



We are still vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunami here in our area. I hope we are always ready and prepared. Please always check our emergency supplies.


Due so Golden Week we cancelled our masses in Shirakawa and Noda Machi. We have masses in Kuji and Hachinohe same time. 

May 14 (Wed) - Hirosaki Church   11:00 Rosary and Mass

May 17 (Sat)) - Ichinoseki Church  2:00 pm Tagalog Mass

May 18 (Sun) - Ishinomaki Church 10:00 International Mass
                         Minami San Riku    2:00 pm Tagalog Mass
                         Ofunato Church     1:00 pm General          
                                                            Assembly & Mass

May 24 (Sat) - Koriyama Church    5:00 pm English Mass

May 25 (Sun) -Shirakawa Church  9:30 International Mass

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 2014

For Our Reflection

3 Years After the 3.11 -
a Reflection by Marife Sugawara

It's been three years since that disastrous earthquake and monstrous tsunami hit us.

I am writing this two days before 3.11. Trying to looked back what happened 3 years ago. I am from Iwate Ken, Rikuzen Takata.

Everytime I passed by Rikuzen Takata compared 3 years ago, there is a big change. No more debris , no more “gareki.” It is clean. But the future seems so far from here. Where’s the city? I felt so sad for the people who are still living in the temporary shelter my relatives and my fellow Filipino friends who are still fighting to live after the tsunami.

Out of seventeen members I am the first one to rebuild my house. Instead of being fully contented, I still feel sad, because I was hoping too that my friends will also have their own houses in the near future.

Now that the “gareki” are gone, the need for job will increase from now on because the work in cleaning the debris will end by March this year. There are some who don't want to go back in the same company they've worked before tsunami. The memory still remains from most of them. It's been three years but the fact remains that the wound and the trauma of the tsunami doesn't healed yet for the people in Tohoku.

Many of them are still crying inside, traumatized, worried if they can still afford to have a new house. I know that some are contented to stay in the temporary shelter. I pity them but I know that the city is doing its job to be able to settle first and foremost the peoples' livelihood. It will take many years to wait and to bring back everything that was washed out. We can bring back the things that were taken from us, but the lives of the people especially the children who still have their future awaiting for them were already gone.

I was trying to reminisce everything. This is my second life. It was because of my children why I am alive. I tried to pick them up that day. But because of a miraculous mistake, my plan to pick them up was the best mistake that led me to save mine and my youngest son’s life.Remembering this, tears will flow down from my eyes.

Tsunami is not that bad anyway, it had done some good things to us and our community.  We become one. And what is important is that, we found our way back to the Lord. From the church PAGASA was born.( We called our group PAGASA in Nihongo Kibou). Our group is not that yet strong there are many trials and difficulties along our way. Our group can be likened to the Miracle Pine out of 70,000 trees only one tree was left standing and trying to show us and telling us not to give up, we have to stand again and start anew.  
Never give up.
There's always a chance. There's always a HOPE. Not only for the Filipinos like me but for all Tohoku people.

Migayi Ken

Baptism of Ryoji and Aera in Watari Church

We had a baptism of Ryoji Susuki the son of Eden and Aera Ishizuka the daughter of Marissa. 

It was I believe the first baptism of the Filipino children in Watari. We did the baptism during the Japanese mass and it was celebrated in a welcoming atmosphere. The community are truly one to welcome and celebrate the baptism of Ryoji and Aera.

Ryoji receiving his baptismal certificate with his mother and his God father Mr. Yamasaki

Aera receiving her baptismal certificate with her mother.

the Watari Community welcomes our newly baptised

Fukushima Ken

Noda Machi Mass

The community in Noda Machi has been celebrating English mass every first sunday of the month. We gathered together and offered thanks for the all the blessings we received. Last March 2, we were blessed to have a guitarist in our mass. We will try our best to inform all the people about the mass in Fukushima so that we can gather and pray together.

We would like to thank Kaye Goto for all the services she had offered for us as our leader here in our community. Kaye you are always welcome to visit Fukushima. We know Fukushima is also your home and leaving the place is sad for you. Keep on praying for our group here and we do for you.

Shirakawa Block Rosary

melanie leading the rosary
Nica and Melanie welcome us when we arrived is Shirakawa. Fr. Tanaka called us informing  that he will be out but will prepare the altar for our mass before our rosary. I was expecting to meet the Sister Marcy or Lennie from Yohohama ENCOM but they were not able to come due to their  scheduled retreat with the group in Yokohama. 

After lunch we prepare for the mass with the children serving in our mass. Then we went to Melanie's  apartment to do our block rosary in her place.

with Fr. Tanaka after our Tagalog Mass


Mass In Kuji

After a five hour drive from Ofunato to Kuji, I am welcomed by the Christians in Kuji. We were waiting for the Filipino group to arrive. It was also snowing that day and they informed Fr. Sato that they will be late in coming to the church. While waiting, Fr. Sato told me that we will distribute the Ashes during the mass to remind them that it's the beginning of the Lenten Season.


Hachinohe Mass

After Mass in Kuji Church, I went to Hachinohe to stay overnight for the 1 pm Mass the next day in Hachinohe. I send a message to Pedro and ask him to inform those who wanted to take a ride from the station to the Church. There were four ladies who joined me going to the church. But i am surprised to see more when i arrived in the church. They were already preparing for the mass and were practicing the songs. Monica informed me that she cannot make it to the mass because it the graduation of her son. But she told me that he will inform the group about the mass.

With good singing and an organised choir, the mass in Hachinohe is really superb. I hope this will be continued by the group.  

3.11 Commemoration and Events

Fukushima Hawak Kamay

Fukushima Hawak Kamay group had a reach out program for people living in Iitate Mura temporary housing in Fukushima Ken  last March 9, 2013. The group entertained and brought food to be shared with the people. 

These people are within the 12 mile radius of the Fukushima Nuclear Dai ichi plant. Returning to their towns is still not allowed due to high radiation in the area. 

Hawak Kamay Fukushima was formed after the 3. 11 disaster and had been doing this reach out program for people living in the temporary housing.
This year as we commemorate the 3rd year of the disaster, the group decided to do the reach out again and bring smile to the people who are still waiting for the day to return to their towns.

Here is the Youtube link of the video of the activity of the group 

PAG ASA "幸福の星” Charity Concert

 PAG ASA community with Nakagawa Goro, Fr. Haru and Garry


Yoshida Yoshiko san
CD「幸福(しあわせ)の星」からSr.古木作詞作曲の「いのち」や「MAY BUKAS PA(明日がある)」など、水沢教会からクワイヤー、東京からギターのいわぶちさん、松原教会の末森さん、フォークシンガーの中川五郎さんとよしだよしこさんが来られ、さいごにはパガサのお母さんたちと子どもたちも一緒に「幸福の星」を合唱しました。

Fr. Haru with Mizusawa Choir

Thank You So Much FR. HARU

From the beginning of March this year, F. Haru had been visiting the areas to celebrate the mass and to say thank you to the different communities here in the diocese. Last March 29, the Ofunato PAG ASA community, the Ichinoseki Church, the Kessenuma Church, the community from Ryori had gathered together in Ofunato to give their farewell to Fr. Haru who is going to the Philippines.

The PAG ASA community prepared a video clip for Fr. Haru tracing his journey with the community. It ended with a speech from Erva Sugawara one of the leaders. It was indeed a short and meaningful journey with the community. Fr. Haru also expressed that if one or two of the members happen to  be in the Philippines, don't  fail to visit him in Manila where he will be assigned from next year.

This is a short note from Terada Sensei, who came all the from Tokyo just to be with Fr. Haru on this farewell party

"今日の大船渡教会では、午前10時半からロザリオの祈り、つづいて11時からミサの予定でしたが、ロザリオ開始が少し遅れたようで、私が12時半に大船渡教会に着いた時には、主の祈り (Ama Namin) を歌っているところでした。ぎりぎりで間に合いました(最近、東北新幹線一ノ関駅から大船渡までの60数キロの道程は混雑気味です。土砂を積んだトラックやミキサー車が列をなして走っています)。ミサにはフィリピン出身者が30人くらい、お子さんが10数人くらいだったでしょうか。「日本出身者」はオルガニストをつとめていた林愛子さんと私だけ(たぶん)。私が教会に着いた時には、すでに涙を流している人たちがたくさんいて、ノーテンキな私は花粉症かと思ったものですが、そうではなくその直前のハルノコ神父さんのお話がすばらしかったのか、あるいは今日はハルノコ神父さんとのお別れの会でみんな集まっているためなのかも知れません。"

Events and Matsuri in April

After a long, cold, and snowy winter, spring has finally sprung, and the beauty of the season is welcomed not only with sighs of relief, but in a wealth of haru matsuri, or spring festivals taking place all over Japan. 

And of course the most common scene is the sakura where people go out for "hanami". Visit your local park areas and enjoy the sakura with your obento and a sip of sake.