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» 03/19/2011
JAPAN
Bishop of Sendai: Thank you for your prayers and support
by Toni Hiroshi
Aid centre to help "bear witness to God's love" to those affected and suffering. Special issue of the Catholic weekly on the disaster, only distributed on the Internet because it impossible to print and post. March 24 a special bishops meeting on the emergency. Battle to cool the reactor in Fukushima continues. Reactors n. 1 and 2 now reconnected to power grid.

Sendai (AsiaNews) - Mgr Martin Tetsuo Hiraga, Bishop of Sendai has published a message to all Japanese to comfort the victims and thank everyone for the help that the diocese is receiving from abroad. Sendai is the diocese hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami and includes the province of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the closest to the epicentre. The message is dated March 17, the same day a centre for survivors and aid coordination for volunteers was set up in the cathedral of Sendai.

Two days ago, the Catholic weekly published a special issue on the disaster. It was only published on line, given the enormous difficulties in printing and distribution.

On March 24, at the request of the President of the Episcopal Conference, the Japanese bishops will gather for an extraordinary emergency meeting to discuss and plan their response to the disaster.

Meanwhile, the emergency at the nuclear plant in Fukushima continues. Soldiers and fire-fighters are trying to cool the plants with tons of water piped  from tanker trucks. At the same time, engineers working on the electricity grid to restart the reactor cooling system. A security officer said that the reconnection of electricity to the reactors 1 and 2 at the plant is expected later today.

 Below the complete text of Msgr. Hiraga’s message:

My dear fellow Japanese people, I am Bishop Tetsuo Hiraga of Catholic Sendai Diocese. At this tragic moment of unprecedented catastrophe caused by the great earthquake and its subsequent tsunami that struck northeast shore areas of this country, we have received a number of heartfelt messages and cordial condolences, donations from all over the country and abroad. We thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers, and for your kind assistance.

As you know, vast areas on the northeast coast are affected and our diocesan chancery office is yet to grasp the full details of the damage. Along with unforeseeable development of the crisis at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, we will have much more information to come that may affect our life even more. To respond to the current adversities, we held a meeting with Caritas Japan president Bishop Isao Kikuchi of Niigata, members of Caritas Japan staff and Bishop Daiji Tani of Saitama, and decided to set up an emergency center to coordinate humanitarian aid operations in Sendai.

The center is called “Sendai Diocese Support Center” and is to do its best with the help of your prayers, encouragement and assistance. The center is also trying to give as much information and updates but, in its early stage of activities, it may fall short of your expectations. Please excuse us if this is the case.

Today’s Gospel reading includes a passage “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find”. We believe firmly in God who is love, even we have got stricken hard by this catastrophe. We are determined to do the best we can hand in hand, so that our relief activities for the people affected and suffering may witness the love of God.

Thank you very much.

Sendai, 17 March 2011


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See also
03/17/2011 JAPAN
Japanese Church launches aid centre for tsunami victims
03/18/2011 RUSSIA - JAPAN
Patriarchate of Moscow launches collection for Orthodox in Japan
by Nina Achmatova
03/22/2011 JAPAN
Japan, mission in the midst of fear and hope
by Nirmala Carvalho
03/23/2011 JAPAN
Nuclear crisis affects Tokyo tap water
12/21/2011 JAPAN
Sendai, Christmas among the tsunami survivors
by David Uribe

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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