» 10/08/2007, 00.00
Nagasaki, November 24 188 Catholic martyrs beatified
The announcement was made by the Japanese Bishop’s Conference. Card. Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints will be present at the ceremony. Archbishop of Tokyo: preserving the faith gifted to us by our predecessors by their own blood, in our hearts.
Tokyo (AsiaNews) – The beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the XVII for their faith will take place next year on Nov. 24 in Nagasaki. The public announcement was made by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) spokesman Fr. Manyo Maeda, who read a letter sent by the Vatican to Conference president Msgr. Takeo Okada, bishop of Tokyo.
Card. Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints will represent Pope Benedict XVI at the ceremony, the first beatification to be conducted in Japan. According to Fr. Isao Hashimoto, Nagasaki Diocesan chancellor, over 20 faithful have already declared their intent to participate in the mass.
In a letter to Japan’s Catholics Msgr. Okada announced the Vatican’s decision with “great joy” and added: “I hope we take to heart the meaning of the treasure our predecessors in the faith left us”.
Among the 188 Japanese martyrs killed in the XVII century for their faith there were priests, nuns and lay: the cause has become known as “the beatification of Fr. Kibe and his 187 companions”.
Jesuit Father Pietro Kassui Kibe, a convert to Christianity, had fled persecution from the government to Rome where he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained priest. He returned to Japan to carry out his ministry among the oppressed faithful and in 1639 was captured tortured and killed in Tokyo.
188 Japanese martyrs to be beatified in Nagasaki
This was decided by the Standing Committee of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, to "draw near to Japan's great tragedies". A nationwide appeal for funds was launched to cover the expenses of the ceremony that should be held next May.
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Beatification of 188 martyrs embodies the faith in Japan and Asia
The beatification ceremony provides an opportunity to renew the evangelisation effort in Japan, a country marked by youth suicide, the family in crisis, weapons and war. Bishops from the Far east and South-East Asia are present. Here is our correspondent’s report.
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The 188 Japanese martyrs, like the martyrs of the early centuries
There are many resemblances between the Christians killed by the shogun and those Diocletian had killed. The future Japanese blessed include some samurai, a few priests, and many laity. 60 of them are women; 33 were under the age of 20; 18 were children under the age of 5.
Beatification cause of 188 Japanese martyrs proceeds
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has drawn up a petition to present to the pope. A fund-raising campaign has been launched to cover the expenses of the celebrations, which will not take place before May
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On November 24, the martyrs will be beatified whom Cardinal Peter Seichi Shirayanagi calls ordinary people, "exemplary in their observance of social order, who did not hesitate to refuse submission to the decrees of the shogun and of the daimyos when these were opposed to the faith and the dignity of the human person."
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