12/21/2017, 15.39
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Mgr Kikuchi welcomed in Tōkyō amid international celebrations

Three bishops from Ghana, where he was a missionary, were present. Lay people came from Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam. Many young people came for a "young bishop" who now picks up the baton for a Church full of challenges.

Tōkyō (AsiaNews) – Mgr Tarcisio Isao Yama Kikuchi, the new archbishop of Tōkyō, took office during a ceremony with international significance.

The Mass was celebrated last Saturday morning in the city’s cathedral, in the presence of the entire Japanese episcopate, the nuncio to Japan Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, and the Archbishop of Seoul Card Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, as well as lay people of various nationalities.

Three bishops from Ghana were also present. The new archbishop spent many years in that country as a missionary.

Fr Lembo, the parish of Fushu (Tōkyō) and regional superior of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Japan, spoke to AsiaNews about the event.

Mgr Kikuchi, 59, was born in Iwate Prefecture. He was appointed archbishop of Tōkyō in October, and is also responsible for Caritas Japan.

"There were many lay people from various dioceses and many young people", a thrilled missionary said.

“We too had contacted many young people, because it is an important experience. He is a young archbishop and he will lead us, hopefully, for the next twenty years."

The Mass was celebrated in various languages, and the bishops from Ghana paid tribute to Mgr Kikuchi in African fashion, singing.

The ambassador of Ghana was also in attendance, whilst the President of Ghana sent his greeting. "This is something one would not see in Japan," Fr Lembo said.

"The archbishop’s own words” excited him, since “he focused on the primacy of the word of God and on reaching out to people who most need such proclamation in today’s society."

In his address, Mgr Kikuchi presented his motto, "diversity in unity", which for him means creating unity out of the differences in Japanese culture thanks to the word of God.

As Archbishop emeritus Peter Takeo Okada passed the “baton” to Mgr Kikuchi, he entrusted him with the Church of Tōkyō, which has many challenges, those "coming from within, because of the many traditions – those of Nagasaki, and those of Tōkyō – and of course society’s challenges."

Many people came Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam to attend the ceremony. It was "A very beautiful celebration, of great significance,” Fr Lembo said.

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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”