12/16/2023, 15.18
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Tokyo, Msgr. Lembo's ordination: 'A sign of hope in the metropolis'

Archbishop Kikuchi today conferred episcopal ministry on the Italian PIME missionary called by Pope Francis to join him as auxiliary bishop. "As I have loved you" the chosen motto.  In his thanksgiving, the new bishop recalled Msgr. Mori who passed away a few weeks ago, "From Heaven help us to be a welcoming Church to those who seek refreshment."

Tokyo (AsiaNews) - “You are called to be the hope of the people. In this Japan of ours today faced with many challenges, look at your flock with compassion. Live your ministry among young people and in society in this way."

With these words the archbishop of Tokyo, Msgr. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi today greeted the new auxiliary bishop of the Japanese capital, Msgr. Andrea Lembo - Italian PIME missionary - during the solemn liturgy during which he conferred episcopal ordination in the cathedral of Santa Maria, in the Bunkyo district. Next to him, as co-consecrators, were the bishop of Yokohama Msgr. Rafael Masahiro Umemura and the bishop of Sapporo Msgr. Bernard Taiji Katsuya.

The celebration took place at midday in the cathedral in the presence of the entire Japanese Episcopal Conference, a bishop from Myanmar - a wounded country with which the Church of Tokyo has long had a twinning relationship - the diocesan clergy and two representatives from each parish , while the rest of the diocesan community followed the rite via streaming. PIME brothers in Japan and other East Asian countries rallied around the new bishop for the occasion, led by the superior general of the institute Fr. Ferruccio Brambillasca, and a delegation that arrived together with the family of the new bishop from Treviglio, his hometown in Italy.

Appointed by Pope Francis on 16 September, Msgr. Lembo is 49 years old and has been a missionary in the Japanese capital since 2009. He served in the parishes of Itabashi and Narashino and was a parish priest in Fuchu. Since 2021 he has been president of the Shinseikaikan, the diocesan cultural center which has its headquarters in the Shinjuku district, one of the great crossroads of the metropolis.

The thoughts of the new auxiliary bishop went to all those who accompanied him in these experiences in the short speech of thanks at the end of the celebration. “I say special thanks to the young people and the two Japanese parish priests who accompanied me, teaching me many things in the first years of my ministry,” he said. He also addressed a thought to Msgr. Kazuhiro Mori, who was also auxiliary bishop of Tokyo and who passed away at the age of 84 a few weeks ago.

“Bishop Mori,” he recalled, “told us that the Church should be like an onsen, the thermal water where people come to regenerate. Look at us from Heaven and help us to have this welcoming heart, capable of giving relief to those seeking refreshment."

As his episcopal motto, Bishop Lembo chose the phrase from the Gospel of John "As I have loved you" (John 13.34) and in his coat of arms he wanted to represent it with the Japanese kanji which expresses the word love and also visually recalls a flame.

“This love – he explains – through the work of the Holy Spirit, continues to burn, to sanctify the world and attract all peoples to the Father”.

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