March 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
I was unaware of what fertile soil Catholicism has found in Japan, until reading about St. Maximilian Kolbe’s trip to the island nation for the purpose of founding a “City of the Immaculata”, called Mugenzai no Sono (Garden of the Immaculate). More than three hundred years after the martyrdom of the first Catholic (Franciscan) missionaries to Japan, three Franciscans, this time led by Friar Maximilian Kolbe, set out to try to bring Christ to Japan one more time, through Mary. The locals laughed when St. Max placed his monastery on the wrong side of the mountain- how unharmonious! They didn’t laugh after the atomic bombs fell, leaving the sheltered monastery undamaged. God’s provision of His mother’s “garden” was confirmation that the friars of Mugenzai no Sono were to be successful in their mission to spread the Gospel to the people of Japan.
So far I have had no word on how Japan’s City of the Immaculate has weathered the recent quake and tsunami, but it seems that no news is good news. With many Catholic missionaries in Japan, and Japanese converts joining the Church daily, this catastrophe can be an opportunity for all Catholics to pray for Japan, not only for those suffering the effects of the devastating tsunami, but for Catholic missionaries who have been serving the people of Japan for these many years. Prayers and charitable giving are most needed right now, and this season of Lent is the perfect time to make a sacrifice for the people of Japan. Catholic Charities, via Catholic Relief Services, are currently taking donations to be put to immediate use in Japan. So let’s continue to pray for Japan, and if the Spirit moves you, why not make a donation to Catholic Relief Services, too. Our brothers and sisters in Japan need us now, let us take the example of Kolbe and other Japanese missionaries, who risked life and limb to bring Christ to the Pacific. We might especially ask Our Lady of Akita for her prayers during this tumultuous time.