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    » 03/19/2011, 00.00


    Bishop of Sendai: Thank you for your prayers and support

    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

    17/03/2011 JAPAN
    Japanese Church launches aid centre for tsunami victims
    The centre is based in Sendai, in the areas affected by the tsunami. Message from the Bishop of Sendai. The diocese also reports children dead in kindergartens, churches destroyed and damaged. Families offer hospitality to the homeless elderly. Shelters without water, electricity, fuel, medicine, causing physical and mental fatigue of the displaced.

    18/03/2011 RUSSIA - JAPAN
    Patriarchate of Moscow launches collection for Orthodox in Japan
    One of the bishops of the Japanese Orthodox Church wrote to the Kirill: extent of damage is still uncertain, there has been no news of the parishes on the Pacific coast in Sendai.

    22/03/2011 JAPAN
    Japan, mission in the midst of fear and hope
    The Jesuit Arun D Souza sj, who is about one thousand kilometres from the Japanese capital, speaks to AsiaNews about his testimony on the ground and points out: "Now is not the time to give in to fear but to give voice to prayer." Meanwhile the death toll climbs as well as the level of radiation in Fukushima.

    23/03/2011 JAPAN
    Nuclear crisis affects Tokyo tap water
    Drops in the level of radiation near Fukushima nuclear plant, but rise in contamination of liquids and vegetables. Reactor number 3 evacuated, while the race to aid survivors continues.

    21/12/2011 JAPAN
    Sendai, Christmas among the tsunami survivors
    Nine months after the tragedy, thousands of homeless housed in prefabs. Catholic priests and faithful of the Archdiocese of Sendai, organize collections of food and offer spiritual support to those who have lost everything. The Japanese mega-cities of gift the victims of the disaster Christmas trees and decorations.

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