Mgr Michiaki Nakamura becomes the new archbishop of Nagasaki

The new head of the Church in the cradle of Japanese Catholicism is the archdiocese’s 59-year-old auxiliary bishop, a Nagasaki native. He succeeds Mgr Takami, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, who spoke about the wounds left by the horror of the atomic bomb.

Nagasaki (AsiaNews) – The Archdiocese of Nagasaki, the cradle of Japanese Catholicism and its martyrs, has a new archbishop, Mgr Peter Michiaki Nakamura.

Yesterday Pope Francis appointed the 59-year-old Nakamura, who current serves s auxiliary bishop of the same archdiocese, replacing Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, 75, at the helm of the same archdiocese since 2002.

Archbishop Takami, who has led the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan since 2016, was born seven months after the atomic bombing, in which he lost a grandmother, two aunts and an uncle.

During his ministry, Takami constantly called for peace, which the Nagasaki tragedy has bequeathed his Church as legacy. “An atomic bomb means a total denial of the dignity of a human person,” he said in a speech before the United Nations in 2010.

Born on 21March 1962 in Saikai, Nagasaki prefecture, the new archbishop also grew up with the same background.

Ordained priest in 1988 in the diocesan clergy, he later completed his studies in moral theology in Rome at the Alphonsian Academy.

Back in Japan, he carried out his ministry teaching in the Nagasaki minor seminary and in the major seminaries in Fukuoka and Tokyo, providing pastoral service in Togitsu and Uematsu parishes.

Pope Francis appointed him auxiliary bishop of Nagasaki in May 2019, a few months before his apostolic trip to Japan.

In a message to the archdiocese, outgoing Archbishop Takami announced Mgr Nakamura’s appointment with 23 February 2022 set as the official date of his taking office.

“Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the blessing of the Lord on the health and work of Archbishop Michiaki Nakamura, and, through the intercession of Mary, for the growth and development of the Church community in Nagasaki. I would be very grateful if you would also pray for me,” reads the message.