12/21/2011, 00.00
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Sendai, Christmas among the tsunami survivors

by David Uribe
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.
Sendai (AsiaNews) - For Japanese Christians, Christmas is an occasion to share the suffering of thousands of people who have lost everything in the disaster and to remember the more than 15 thousand victims. This year the Christmas celebrations in the Archdiocese of Sendai, will be attended by hundreds of non-Christian families, who in recent months have lived together with Catholics in the parishes of Sendai, Morioka, Miyagi and Fukushima. In recent days, the citizens of Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and other mega-cities of the country have organized a fundraiser to donate a Christmas tree, lights and decorations to all the affected families.

Nine months after the tragedy that cost over 15 thousand lives, most of the displaced people are now living in prefabricated houses located around the towns and villages swept away by the tidal wave. To reconstruct the social life of communities, the government has set up a series of exhibitions devoted to recreational activities for children, young and old, in each area, run by volunteers of the Catholic Church and non-governmental organizations.

Despite the burden of deaths and suffering, the tragedy of the tsunami has given new life and unity to the Japanese Catholic communities, the priests and faithful who are striving day and night. In the Archdiocese of Sendai and Sapporo, the parishes have become collection centers recruiting volunteers and supplies to be deployed in remote areas.

Fr. Marco Antonio de la Rosa, a Mexican priest of the Missionaries of Guadalupe and parish priest of the Myako community, has converted the parish hall into a warehouse for the collection and distribution of food intended for families forced to live in the prefabs. Along with dozens of volunteers, every morning the priest organizes a visit to the displaced, providing them with food, hot drinks and spiritual comfort. Fr. Jose Alfredo Fonzalex of Motodera Parish (Archdiocese of Sendai), is also aMexican and missionary of Guadalupe. Together with some of the faithful, the priest has been engaged for months in support of those who lost spouses, children, parents in the tragedy and who now live together with other families within the prefabs. Fr. Juan de la Cruz Aizu Takashi of the parish community of Kesennuma and Ishinomaki, has followed the return of hundreds of foreigners resident in earthquake areas, housing them in the local parish and helping them to get in touch with family members.

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See also
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