Niigata (AsiaNews) - For Japan's Catholics "understanding the directives expressed by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is a major challenge, something very important. That is why we prepared Advent together, studying this text, which calls on the Church to reach out towards the marginalised," said Mgr Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, bishop of Niigata, as he laid out diocesan activities ahead of Christmas during two study sessions attended by more than 60 people.
"We live in a relatively rich country, in which most people do not suffer from poverty," the bishop said. However, "when the pope calls upon us to take care of the 'poor', we should not limit our action to those who have less in material terms. In fact, we must find in our society those who are the poor in spirit, the marginalised and forgotten."
Fukushima disaster survivors is one example. "It is been almost four years, and we know how these people are trying desperately to resume a normal life," the prelate explained. "At the same time, many elderly people are living alone; those left out of welfare system, the unemployed. We must stop thinking that only we have real problems, and devote ourselves to them."
In view of the initiative's success, the bishop is thinking of making such study sessions on the main Church documents a permanent thing. "We must learn to know more about Catholic life and the texts that have shaped it. This is why I think next fall we will focus on Ad Gentes because Japan needs missionaries".