Easter in Tokyo, the mission to open up to others

In his homily, Mgr Kikuchi, calls for openness to the wider community, to the idea of “creating an evangelising mind". Dedicated to praying for others, Lent saw every Sunday focus on a different theme and a different paper flower, symbol of the "crosses of the world". Young people must be brought closer to the Church and Jesus.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Mgr Tarcisio Kikuchi, the new archbishop of Tokyo, delivered the homily in today’s Chrism Mass. In it, he focused on the mission, on showing growing openness to others, to the wider community, to the idea of “creating an evangelising mind in our communities, starting with the clergy", said Fr Andrea Lembo, regional superior of Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Japan. The archbishop, he added, “is very much mission-oriented, something we looked forward to".

For Fr Lembo, who is parish priest at the Holy Family Church in Fuchu (western Greater Tokyo), the mission towards others is a must. Every Sunday during Lent, the community started the week with a "prayer for others" on a different topic, symbolised by a paper flower that worshippers picked up from baskets at the back of the church, and then brought back the following week and attached to the cross (pictured).

"The first one occurred during the visit of a nun who has volunteered in Fukushima since 2011. For this reason, we prayed on the first Sunday for the volunteers of the world, for those who help people in need, that the Lord may give them strength.

“On the second Sunday we prayed for the victims of natural disasters; on the third for those who will be baptised on Easter Eve; on the fourth for refugees, especially children; and on the fifth for the sick, those in need."

"Thus, through the Resurrection of the Lord we remember that we too have collaborated to carrying the crosses that exist in the world. On Easter Eve, the crucifix will be completely covered with flowers,” Fr Lembo explained.

The aim "is a simple thing, reawaken the idea of ​​prayer for others, learning about others. For this reason, every week I give out articles on the issues we pray for: not only the statistics about migrants, but also the beautiful stories of migrants who came back to life thanks to the way they were received, a process in which young people participated. I asked them to lead these celebrations".

The missionary hopes to reach as many people as possible. For this reason, he chose to replace the evening Mass on the second Saturday of the month with the Taizé* prayer, led by young people with the music.

The goal is “to create more room. For non-Catholics, the Mass is hard to understand. By contrast the Taizé prayer is easier: one repeats it by chanting a Gospel verse. It is very meditative and has a broad range that brings people closer to the Church, to Jesus."

Young people will enliven the Coena Domini tonight and the Adoration of the Cross tomorrow with the Taizé songs, with the same musical instruments used in the prayers recited in the past few months.

"In addition, hard-boiled eggs will be handed out," the missionary said. "I will bless them on Easter Sunday, and we will give them out.”

“This year I asked the community to open up to the wider community. I have parishioners who help the homeless and poor families.

"I told them: Let’s buy more eggs and between Easter afternoon and Monday or Tuesday – when we take turns to volunteer – we give a simple note with our best wishes, the explanation of what Easter is, and five or six eggs per family.

“It will be a sign of our openness to the people of Fuchu, through the little things we do."

* Taizé is the community founded by frère Roger in Taizé, France.