With the end of World War II, first in Europe and three months later in the Pacific by the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945, there came a flurry of activity on the political as well as on the religious scene. Politically, the focus of attention was the 'democratization' of Japan. Initially the U.S. military, who occupied the country from the day of its surrender, restricted all access to Japan to themselves. Gradually, the country returned to a normal way of life, politically and economically, and the American military authorities granted permission from December 25, 1946 on, for missionaries to enter Japan. As related in a Dutch Catholic News Bulletin, Katholiek Archief, of March 28, 1947: "From then on all catholic missionaries, even those who have not yet lived there, are allowed to go to Japan, provided they sufficiently know Japanese. There is no distinction between sex or nationality. Requests for admission have to be addressed to the 'Rehabilitation Committee of the Catholic Church in Japan.' All information can be obtained from Father Bitter, S.J., Sophia University, Tokyo. (Fides)" Meanwhile, all over the world newspapers, magazines, books were published on Japan's 'spirit', 'social structure', 'economy', and 'religion'. Christians of all denominations were getting ready to jump in as soon as the green light would be given. Protestant groups of all kinds were the first to come over and join the ones that had been there from before the war. The Catholic hierarchy did not lag far behind. Requests went out to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome, who contacted the major superiors of the Mission Institutes, Orders and Congregations. The feeling of euphoria was sky high, and the glowing reports of mass conversions in various missionary magazines made it appear as if the country would be Christian in a minimum of time. In the same high spirits the news of the Oblates having been assigned a mission in Japan, appeared in the A.R.O.M.1., first in French, in February 1948, and then in English in March 1948, with a letter of Fr. General Leo Deschatelets:
The Letter of Superior General
*General House, Rome,
*January 25th 1948
(132nd Anniversary of the Foundation of the Congregation)
To the Religious Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Reverend Fathers and Very Dear Brothers.
Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate.
At the repeated request of the Holy See, after having called upon our founder in prayer, and having sought graces from on High during a solemn Mass at our International Scholasticate: after having prayed to our blessed Mother at the Church of Santa Maria in Campitelli where we like to picture to ourselves Father de Mazenod lost in prayer, we have taken the following decision: sometime this year, 1948, the Congregation of Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate will send missionaries to Japan.
This means a new and arduous task for our Institute. We would not want to deprive any of our other missions of subjects; and we do have so many requests to answer! We place our trust in Providence and the Protection of our Mother and Patroness. We have wanted to answer the desires of the Holy See. We are persuaded that Bishop de Mazenod would not have acted otherwise. We are sure that the Mission of Japan will draw to us all the missionary vocations needed to sustain it On this solemn occasion, dear Fathers and Brothers, we feel that you are all very near to us. Your own needs will not allow you to forget those of the Church as a whole; we feel sure that you approve of this very important decision that we have taken Let active propaganda everywhere be set in motion and organized that we may find vocations for our new mission field. Let fervent prayers be offered to God and to Bishop de Mazenod for this intention! The task will not be easy but "summopere refert, urget tot errantes oves ad ovile reducere..." At present we can furnish no further details, but we shall do so as soon as possible. One thing is sure: we will have to find missionaries within the next few months. Who will they be? How many? The answer will come from our Immaculate Mother and from her Oblates Reverend Fathers and dear Brothers, I renew the appeal of our venerated Founder for true holiness: in the name of God, let us be saints!
Blessing you with all my heart, I remain, very religiously yours in Our Lord and Mary Immaculate
Leo Deschatelets, O.M.I
Shikoku, 四国 "Four Country"
( Kochi, Tokushima, Takamatsu, Ehime)
Although Father General is said to have resisted a good length of time, it is the persistence of Bishop Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi, ordinary of Osaka and at that time also Apostolic Administrator of Shikoku, ( Kochi, Tokushima, Takamatsu, Ehime) who won his approval by complaining that no other missionary institute was willing to enter into this poor area.
Until then the whole island was under the care of the Dominican Fathers, who had 'inherited' it from the French Foreign Missionaries in 1904. Father Deschatelets is reported to have said: "If no one else will go then we must". The following month (March 1948), the A.R.O.M.I. published, both in French and in English, an extract from a letter of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda (Fidei) to Father General about our Japanese Mission: "The S. C. of Propaganda very gladly entrusts to your Congregation one of the 4 civil districts of the Shikoku Island, where only Dominican Fathers have been working till now. His Excellency Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi, Bishop of Osaka, Apostolic Administrator of Shikoku and the Apostolic Delegate Msgr Marella are anxious to see your valiant missionaries." It did not take long for the Oblates to know more about their new mission. In the volume of Etudes Oblates of 1948 Fr. Eugene Marcotte, O.M.1. writes in his Chronicle of Actualities, entitled In the Land the Rising Sun: "The latest statistics from 1944 give an idea of the apostolic labor awaiting us there. Of four million inhabitants there were only 771 Catholics and 35 catechumens, that is about one Catholic or catechumen for about 5,000 non-Catholics, while the proportion for the whole of Japan is one of about 700-800. The Protestants have already about 2,000 followers. "Several signs seem to point to a 'second Spring' of the Church in Japan... From 1941 until 1947 the number of catechumens went from 497 to 2,500 in the diocese of Tokyo; from 346 to 1,023 in the diocese of Osaka; and from 99 to 2,564 in the diocese of Nagasaki, where 8,000 of the 10,000 Catholics died under the atom bomb. Of 250,000 Christians before the war the total number has grown to 600,000, of whom 109,000 are Catholics; and the Japanese newspaper that reports these statistics foresees a number of 2,000,000 in a not too remote future." In the A.R.O.M.I. of June 1948 we read: "H. E. Bp. (Paul Yoshigoro) Taguchi, Adm. Ap. of Shikoku, offered to the M. Rev. Fr. General his heartfelt gratitude and thanks for the kind acceptance of the Missionary Apostolate of Shikoku." He writes (April 5th, 1948): "The Prefecture of Shikoku has been very poorly cultivated up to now, from the Catholic point of view. Only about ten Spanish Dominican Fathers have been working in that large and extensive island. At present there are only about 800 Catholics out of a total population of over four million. The trial of God was severe during the war. Only one Church escaped damage either by bombs or earthquake. Now we have seven churches under consideration for construction. Four of those which had been destroyed are being rebuilt. Three are new buildings. As in other parts of Japan since the end of the war, there are many catechumens awaiting instruction in the true Faith in Shikoku ... Your Congregation has a great name for Missionary Work. Your Fathers are certainly well prepared for the Japanese Mission. As you know, the Japanese people on the whole are well educated and have a passion for reading. They have their own Oriental Culture. The younger generation have more or less adopted the Western ways of life. The Japanese language is not easy. It takes time and requires great patience. Though the new generation is learning to speak English, it is absolutely essential for priests to have a good knowledge of Japanese in order to preach and instruct. Therefore all missionaries for Japan must be patient, ready for all difficulties, and have a good intellectual formation. Before starting their apostolate it will be necessary for your Fathers to spend at least a year and a half learning that language... "There are four civil Prefectures on the Island of Shikoku: Kochi, Tokushima, Ehime and Kagawa. I would like to entrust to your Congregation the civil Prefecture of Kochi. It is the largest Prefecture on the island, having a population of about 800,000 people. Its main cities are Kochi (150,000), Akaoka, Gomen, Susaki, Ino, Yamada and Kubokawa. "The inhabitants are of a quiet and docile disposition and like Culture, Science and Politics. The Prefecture was the birthplace of such great men as Sakamoto Ryoma, ex-premier Hamaguchi and ex-premier Yoshida. The soil is rather fertile and the climate temperate. "In that Prefecture there is the largest and most flourishing parish on the Island. It contains about 3OO Catholics. In Akaoka there is another parish of 2O Catholics. Before the war the Spanish Dominican Fathers had a religious parish in Kochi, where their central house was situated. This was destroyed by the air raids. In Kochi city there is a convent of Japanese nuns - the Sisters of Aishikai (Congregation of Mission Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a Japanese foundation). They are in charge of some charitable works." On the 4th of June, 1948, this new mission was entrusted to the First (later called the Eastern) American Province, which elicited the following exhortation from Father Robbins, its Provincial: "I would direct your attention especially to paragraph 4 of the Decree concerning the administrative union of the Japanese Mission Field with the First American Province. It brings all of us face to face with the stern realities of our obligations to this new mission and to the Oblates who are to devote their lives to it. Our joy in acquiring a mission field which will undoubtedly test the bodies and try the souls of the six pioneers must endure. The first flush of our pride in the calibre of their characters and the quality of their priestliness must continue... Not one of us can allow himself the luxury of forgetting a single one of these six missionaries because they are so absolutely dependent for every necessity upon the Home Province and every member of the Province. If ever an apostolate was begun with little more than script and staff and the willingness to sacrifice everything for souls dear to Christ, this is it. In the days to come and in ever increasing degree we at Home will have the grave obligation of financing a project which with God's help will grow as does a mustard seed... More volunteers will be needed. Future apostles must be sought... We are our brothers' keepers !" The first missionaries, Frs. Robert GILL, Leonard ROBITAILLE and Charles McBENNETT, boarded the ALMERIA LYKES at Galveston, Texas, on All Saints Day, November I , 1948. The ship cast off the next evening, sailing into the sunset towards the Land of the Rising Sun. It docked in Kobe, Japan, at noon on November 29, 1948. After a strenuous afternoon clearing customs with the help of their interpreter, Fr. Raymond Froidevaux, M.E.P., they set off in the evening for the Bishop's residence at Nishinomiya City. There they were put up in one room on army cots. Fr. Robitaille writes in his diary: "It was bitterly cold. No heat in the house whatsoever except a tiny fireplace flame in our room... Many things struck us funny, so that we went to sleep worn out from laughter as well as fatigue. Next morning, arising about 7:00, we nearly froze to death, so it seemed, dressing and washing. Celebrating Mass in the chapel left us with hands numb and spirits considerably less hilarious than the night before ." From there they soon moved to Toyonaka, a suburb of Osaka, into the house which had served as the Bishop's war-time residence. Within the week they set out to visit the Kochi and Tokushima area that was to be confided to them. Father Robitaille sent a detailed report of the voyage to Missions: "On December 3, the feast of St. Francis Xavier, at the stroke of twelve noon the Akitsu-maru shoved off, saluted Kobe with a blast of her whistle, and we were on our way to Shikoku. This was to be a reconnaissance trip on which the first contingent of Oblate missionaries to Japan, Father Gill, Father McBennett and myself would look over the territory which we were soon to serve. We were accompanied by Father Francis Eikichi Tanaka, Vicar Delegate of Shikoku and pastor of the church of St.Paul Miki in Tokushima. Five hours later we arrived at Tokushima and put up at a hotel for want of accommodation in the tiny rectory that Father Tanaka calls home. This was an experience the novelty of which one would hardly imagine. First a word about Tokushima, where the Oblate Fathers have been invited by the Ordinary to take over the city's lone Catholic parish. ..."< blockquote><span style="color: #000080;">Note: In the A.R.O.M.I. of June 1, 1949 we read: Our Oblate Fathers of the Japanese mission of Shikoku who are already in charge of the Kochi district also received as theirs the new district of Tokushima (Shikoku) This seems to be another instance of what Father General is reported to have said: "If no one else will go then we must." This is confirmed by an item in the A.R.O.M.I. of Aug-Sept. 1949: SPECIALISTS IN THE MOST DIFFICULT MISSIONS.
- Father Robert Gill, Superior of the Japanese mission, heard about another American community which had accepted a Prefecture on Shikoku, but after looking over the prospects withdrew to the mainland and accepted a place in the Diocese of Yokohama. He writes, "The Bishop was afraid that we might have similar ideas. We soon set his mind at rest, assuring him that we knew when we came that Shikoku was difficult, but that instead of being a deterrent it was only an added challenge for us American Oblates, members of a Congregation which glories in the title of 'specialists in the most difficult missions'. So the sooner we can actually begin to live and work among the people of Shikoku the happier we will be
Fr. Robitaille continues: "One of the four larger cities on the island, Tokushima has a population in the neighborhood of 100,000 inhabitants. At least 90% destroyed in the last war, it is now almost entirely rebuilt. The number of Catholics is as yet small, but here too one encounters the firm conviction that henceforth the harvest will be great. On Sunday morning (5 December) Father Gill addressed the congregation, telling them how happy we were to be in their midst and of the hopes that are being entertained for the future. "From Tokushima our itinerary took us by train to Takamatsu and thence to Kochi. Although it required more than two and a half hours to cover the forty-six miles to Takamatsu, the journey was most enjoyable. A winding route through mountains tinged with autumn color, a panorama of beautifully terraced gardens, orange trees laden with fruit -- these are some of the views that furnished a very interesting trip. During the four hours between trains in Takamatsu we met and were entertained by Father Sergio Santamaria, O.P., pastor of the local parish. There was only time to visit the premises and to note the reconstruction of church property. "The remainder of the journey to Kochi was made for the most part after dark. The train pulled into the station shortly after ten o'clock and what a surprise to discover a welcome committee comprising two Fathers (Frs. Orenzio Perez, O.P. and Stephen Yoshio Takeda, O.P., who were stationed there) and a number of parishioners (the Aishikai Sisters and the children of the orphanage, Iocated next to the church). These good people received us very cordially and proceeded to conduct us to the Fathers' residence. "The next three days were a continual round of greetings and exchange of visits. A visit was made to Akaoka, where Fr. Domingo Ledesma, O.P. was resident pastor. Formal calls were made on the mayor, Mr. Susumu Yamamoto, the vice-mayor, Mr. T. Suzuki, who later returned the visit on behalf of the mayor; on the President of the Prefectural Council, Mr. S. Nakayama and also on the Principal of one High School, a Mr. S. Yoshii. By all without exception we were graciously, even warmly received and promised their full cooperation in the endeavors that lie ahead. "But it was left to our own, the Catholic people of Kochi, some three hundred in a population of approximately 120,000, to demonstrate in their own fashion, in various ways, the gladness and appreciation they felt over the arrival of the Oblate Fathers . "Following Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament the evening of the first day, a parochial reception was held in the church. An official welcome in behalf of the parishioners was tendered by Mr. Kiyoshi Yoshimatsu, the only Catholic on the Council of the Prefectural government. Father Tanaka and Father Takeda, O.P., also spoke. Father Gill replied. Earlier in the day we had been entertained by the children of the school and orphanage. Having presented us with three gifts of flowers, fruit and a doll, they excelled themselves in an interesting concert of Japanese folklore. The Sisters, who are in charge of these institutions, are Japanese and members of the Aishikai Community. One cannot be too lavish in the praise of these good Sisters, who are waging such a courageous fight against great odds. Four of them look after a school of some two hundred children as well as an orphanage of sixty-five or more. And they are so poor. If only our people in America realized to what advantage such items as old or used clothing could be utilized over here they would save and send all they have. "The Patronal feast day of the Oblate Fathers, December 8th, was marked by a High Mass. Father Gill officiated. It was a fitting climax to a visit that culminated in the afternoon when we were given a royal sendoff at the pier. Before describing in brief our departure, Iet it be said that we felt and owed a debt of gratitude to Father Stephen Takeda, O.P., Father Orenzio Perez, O.P., to the Sisters and in particular to Major and Mrs. C. H. Irskine for the kindness and hospitality they so readily extended to us. "At four-thirty Wednesday afternoon we took leave of Kochi. A Iarge group of well-wishers, some of whom walked a long distance, were at the pier to see us off. Holding the multi-colored streamers thrown to and from the deck, these friendly and good people waved until we were almost out of sight. It was a touching scene and one ever to be remembered. Our ship, the Toroshiomaru, took us to Osaka overnight." The main cities of Shikoku, Takamatsu, Tokushima, Kochi and Matsuyama had been 90% destroyed by bombings during the war. The church facilities were either leveled or in a state of bad disrepair. The ones mentioned above in Shinhonmachi and in Akaoka had escaped, but the main church in Kochi was nothing but a large heap of rubble, and in Tokushima and Takamatsu a temporary construction had been set up. On January 14, 1949, the second group of missionaries arrived: Frs. William McLaughlin, Timothy Mulvey and Leonard Scannell. The first Oblate community in Japan was now ready to start
On January 17 the new group of missionaries began Japanese language studies under the tutorship of Mr. Imabara. Instruction continued until October 25, 1949. Classes were often interrupted or put off as the services of Mr. Imabara, as interpreter, were needed by the mission superior, who was already busy seeing to the reparation of the damaged churches in Tokushima and Kochi, as well as preparing a new foundation in Itami, a city bordering on Toyonaka. A.R.O.M.1. of October 1949 reports: "A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Sunday, July 31 , at Shin Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, Honshu (Japan) for the buildings being erected there by our Oblate Fathers of the Japanese Mission. In this quasi-parish of Shin Itami, now entrusted to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a kindergarten will accommodate some 100 children. Attached to this kindergarten is a large playroom that will serve as a temporary chapel until our Fathers are able to build a suitable church. Within the limits of the new parish here are more than 65,000 people; of this number less than 50 are Catholic. At present they are having Mass each Sunday in the Home of Mr. Rihei Okada, a recent convert and former Mayor of Itami. The usual attendance is around 35. On August 15 seven members of the parish were baptized. ..." On January 25, 1950, the buildings in Itami were dedicated by Bp. Taguchi. Fr. McBennett took charge as pastor, with Fr. Mulvey as assistant, while Fr. Scannell returned to the U.S.A. The end of formal studies of Japanese in Toyonaka had come in November 1 949, and so the missionaries had set out with Bible and dictionary in hand for their new assignments: Fr. Robitaille to Tokushima as pastor, Frs. Gill and McLaughlin to Kochi (Shinhonmachi) as pastor and assistant respectively, the other three staying on in Toyonaka until the completion of the facilities in Itami.
The formal handing over of the area to be evangelized by the Oblates in Shikoku, i.e. the civil prefectures of Kochi and Tokushima, was effected on December 4, 1 949 by Bishop Taguchi in an impressive ceremony.
The Dominican Fathers were represented by Fr. Vincente Gonzalez, O.P., Dominican Vicar for Shikoku, and the Oblate Fathers by Fr. Robert J. Gill, O.M.1., Vicar Provincial of the Oblates. Bishop Taguchi thanked the Dominican Fathers for their apostolic labors in the Kochi area since 1904, and welcomed the Oblate Fathers. The Congregation thereby assumed responsibility for the southern half (Kochi Pref. 7,103.87 square kilometers, Tokushima Pref. 4,143.18 square kilometers) of the Prefecture Apostolic of Shikoku (total area 1 8,794.29 square kilometers), which is close to two thirds of Belgium (30,513 square kilometers). The population of the island in 1949 was about 4 million, most of whom were attached in some way to Buddhism. The Christians were a small minority of less than I ,OOO. The Dominicans continued their apostolic work in the civil prefecture of Ehime (5,672.59 square ki-lometers), while the fourth of the civil prefectures, Kagawa (1,874.65 square kilometers) was to be evangelized by the diocesan clergy (since 1953 assisted by the Burgos Fathers from Spain). The areas accepted by the Oblates, though basically rural, and physiographically extremely mountainous, centered in the prefectural capital cities of Kochi and Tokushima. These cities had been almost completely leveled by Allied bombing in July 1945. The existing parishes in Kochi Prefecture were Nakajimacho, in the center of Kochi city (totally destroyed), Shinhonmachi, also in Kochi city (had escaped destruction), and Akaoka, 25 kilometers east of Kochi City. In Tokushima Prefecture there was the church property in Tokushima Honcho (in the center of the city), also destroyed but partly reconstructed, and Awa-Ikeda, 76 kilometers west of Tokushima City, unattended since 1940. The church at Shinhonmachi in the city of Kochi, and the mission of Akaoka were the only two churches in Kochi Prefecture in 1949 . The church at Shinhonmachi is just behind (north of) the railroad station of Kochi City. It miraculously escaped the fire bombs of 1945. An earthquake in December 1946 caused severe damage to the front of the church . This parish encompassed all of Kochi City, as well as the territories north, 30 kilometers to the Tokushima and Ehime prefectural borders, and west, 110 kilometers to the Ehime prefectural border. This comprised about one half of the whole prefecture. This parish was divided in two when the new rectory in Nakajimacho was finished. Its territory became then the northern half of Kochi city and Awa-gun (gun=county), and the mountain area up to the Tokushima prefectural border, 30 kilometers to the north . In 1949 there were about 200 Christians in the city. The diocesan statistics give 209 Christians for this parish (Shinhonmachi) on January 1, 1997. In March 1972, while remaining part of the mission territory entrusted to the Oblates, Fr. John Yoji Matsunaga, a diocesan priest, became pastor, with an Oblate serving as assistant. In August 1996 this priest was transferred and in his place came two new diocesan priests.
This parish is in the center of Kochi, a couple of minutes walk from the municipal and prefectural offices. It is the oldest parish on Shikoku Island. Missionaries of the Paris Foreign Mission Society first came to Kochi in February 1882. They acquired land at the present site in 1888. In 1904 the whole island was entrusted to the Dominican Fathers and established as a Prefecture Apostolic. They built a large red brick church and granite rectory on the property at Nakajimacho in 1915. On July 4, 1945, the center of Kochi was razed by Allied Forces fire bombs and the church and rectory perished in the blaze. The Oblates reopened this parish in 1953 after a rectory and kindergarten were built. On August 21 the new rectory was fmished and Father Gill, who had until then resided in Shinhonmachi moved in that day.
On that same day Fr. Jan VAN HOYDONCK, O.M.I., arrived in Kobe, from Belgium. It may set someone to wonder why all of a sudden some member from another Oblate Province than the Eastern American shows up in the Japanese Oblate Mission. 'All of a sudden' is certainly not applicable here. Even before there was ever a thought of accepting a mission in Japan Father Van Hoydonck had expressed his desire to Father General of being sent to Japan if the opportunity would arise. And from the day he knew that Father Gill had been appointed to be the first superior of the Oblates in Japan he wrote to him, asking whether he would be given some consideration. Father Gill gave a very kind and favorable reply, and that gave rise to the same desire among some of the young Oblates in the Flemish Scholasticate in Belgium. Through several circumstances, one of which was a severe traffic accident,Father Van Hoydonck's departure was delayed, but on July 3rd 1953 he left Rotteredam by ship, and arrived in Kobe on August 21. After a few days in and around Itami he was put on the ferry to Kochi the evening of the 25th, and arrived in Kochi the next morning where he was welcomed by Father Gill. After a few days in and around Kochi he had to leave again for Tokyo to take up the study of the Japanese language, from where he was appointed to be an assistant pastor in Nakajima-cho, in July 1955.
The kindergarten auditorium in Nakajima-cho , Kochi served as a church until the end of 1958. A fine concrete church was built and solemnly consecrated under the title of the Immaculate Conception by Bishop Paul Taguchi on December 20, 1958. The Bishop celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in it the following day, December 21 . The parish extended throughout the south side of the city, and 15 kilometers to the east, to Noichi. To the west it extended all the way to the Ehime Prefecture border, some 150 kilometers away. Part of this area in the west was detached in 1977, when a parish was formed in Nakamura. On January 1, 1997, Nakajima-cho Parish reported 365 parishioners
This small parish is in the eastern part of Kochi Prefecture, about 20 kilometers from Kochi city. It was established by the Dominican Fathers in 1933 with 35 Christians. In 1935 they built a kindergarten, which in 1948, at the request of the town authorities was turned into a day nursery. This was closed in 1978. Under the Oblates, Akaoka church was a mission station of Aki until 1963 when the church, dedicated to Saint Joseph, was renewed and a new rectory was built. The diocesan statistics give a total of 48 Christians at the end of 1996.
The Tokushima church, dedicated to St. Paul Miki, is located at Honcho in the prefectural capital of Tokushima City. The original church erected by the Dominicans had been destroyed at the end of the war. A small temporary chapel and a quonset hut rectory had been built by Fr. Francis Eikichi Tanaka. This parish was entrusted to the Oblates in 1949 and was then the only Catholic church in function in the whole of Tokushima Prefecture, a territory of 4,144 square kilometers. The other existing church, in Awa-Ikeda, at the west end of the Prefecture, had been closed in 1940, due to travel restrictions and the house arrest of the foreign (Spanish) missionaries during the Pacific War. Father Leonard Robitaille, O.M.I., became the first Oblate pastor in Tokushima on November 29, 1949, replacing Fr. Tanaka, who went to Takamatsu and later became bishop of Takamatsu when the Prefecture Apostolic was raised to the status of a diocese in 1963. At the end of 1996 the parish listed 388 catholics.
The parishes of Naruto and Anan had in the meantime been founded from this parish
This parish is in the mountains of central Shikoku, on the western edge of Tokushima Prefecture. The Oblates assumed responsibility for this mission in 1949 when accepting the mission district of Tokushima. The Dominican Fathers had bought a piece of property in the town of lkeda in 1928, and in 1929 opened a kindergarten. In 1933 they built a church with rectory and a house for a catechist. Because of some difficulties they had to close the kindergarten and in 1938 they also dismantled the kindergarten building and the rectory and moved them south to Kochi and Akaoka, and the residing priest moved to Matsuyama. During the war years there was no religious activity, and the buildings that were still left on the property were occupied by squatters. In 1949 these buildings (the church and the little adjoining house) were in terrible disrepair already, but remained occupied by the squatters until 1962. Until then the area was a mission of Tokushima parish. The territory of the Ikeda parish covers about a quarter of the rural mountain area of Tokushima Prefecture and stretches from Ehime Prefecture in the west to Kagawa Prefecture in the north, to the parishes of Naruto and Tokushima in the east, and to Kochi Prefecture in the south. In 1962 Ikeda was elevated to the status of a parish with a resident priest. The buildings had reached a point where repairs were no longer possible and further use had become dangerous. The whole compound was rebuilt in 1973, and the old buildings were torn down. The parish is dedicated to Christ the King. On January 1, 1997 the parish register listed 30 Christians
The new missionaries had been in Japan only a few months yet, trying to learn a new and difficult language, making tedious and time consuming trips to Shikoku to oversee the repairs of the churches to be confided to them, when new demands already required their attention. From several directions they had received requests to open new missions to broaden the network of bases for evangelization
While they were still in language training in Toyonaka the Oblates started saying Mass at the home of Mr. Rihei Okada, the former mayor of Itami, a city just south of Toyonaka, roughly halfway between Osaka and Kobe. There were a few Christians in that city. Very soon Bishop Taguchi asked the Oblates to start a parish in Itami. In April 1949 land was bought for this new mission, Iess than five months after the arrival of the missionaries in Japan. The ground breaking took place on the last Sunday of July 1949. A kindergarten and rectory were blessed by Bishop Taguchi on January 24, 1950, and dedicated to Christ the King. Fr. Charles McBennett became the first pastor. The kindergarten hall served as a chapel until a church was built in 1966. This parish grew rapidly into one of the bigger ones in the diocese, partly by new conversions and baptisms at the church, partly by the rapid growth of the city by migration from remote areas of Japan, mainly from the southern part of Kyushu, which brought many Christians from the Nagasaki area towards the Kansai (Osaka) area. On January 1, 1996 the parish had 773 parishioners.
"Star of the Sea" parish was established by the Oblates in Aki city, Kochi Prefecture, in 1951. It was to serve as a base for evangelizing the eastern part of Kochi Prefecture. A kindergarten and a big rectory were built with the hope of eventually housing the novitiate there. In the summer of 1951 the building in Aki was ready for occupancy. Father Leonard Robitaille was appointed its director. He was succeeded as pastor of Tokushima by Fr. McLaughlin. Frs. Patrick BRADY and Nicholas NEVILLE, who had arrived in Japan on June 1, were sent to Aki for their study of the Japanese language. On October 15 Fr. Robitaille was installed as pastor. On November 1 , 1951, the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Maximilian de Furstenberg arrived in Takamatsu, accompanied by Bishop Taguchi, making his first visit to Shikoku. They were met by Fr. Gill, who took them by car to the Dominican parishes in Ehime Prefecture, and on to Kochi, where the Archbishop presided at several functions. From Kochi the visitors went to Akaoka and Aki. In Aki the Internuncio, as he was commonly referred to, presided at the blessing of the new buildings on November 8. The next day the visitors with Fr. Gill went on to Tokushima. Akaoka, which up to that time had been a station of the Shinhonmachi church in Kochi, became attached to Aki. The following year, on May 31, 1952, Fr. Gill made the formal promulgation of the decree of erection of a canonical novitiate in Aki. Father John BARRETT and Father Richard HARR, who had arrived in Japan on October 13, 1952, started their Japanese language studies in Aki, but when the Franciscan Fathers opened a language school for missionaries in Tokyo in the Spring of 1953 they were sent there and subsequent arrivals also took their courses there. At the time when the proceedings in Aki were started there was only one Catholic family living there. The parish territory covers several hundred square kilometers, extending all along the coast for about 110 kilometers, and reaching north into the mountains up to the Tokushima Prefecture border. In 1996 there were 43 Catholics registered in that territory. More than triple that number have been baptized there over the years, but they have migrated to the big city centers on Honshu, seeking work. This parish has mission stations at Yanase and at Mitsuhama in Muroto city, both located east of Aki
In the Spring of 1953 Bishop Dominic Senuemon Fukahori of the diocese of Fukuoka invited the Oblates to start a parish in Nakamachi, in the south of Fukuoka City. The bishop provided the land, and the building of a rectory and a hall was started. This was the first mission the Oblates opened outside of the diocese of Osaka and its suffragan Prefecture Apostolic of Shikoku. The compound was blessed by Bishop Fukahori on September 23, 1953, and dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady. Fr. William McLaughlin was the first pastor. The name of the area was later changed to Hikarigaoka. In 1953 there were 50 Catholics living in the area. With the expansion of Fukuoka City this soon became a densely populated area with about 80,000 people living in the confines of the parish. In 1968 a new modern church was built to meet the needs of the growing Catholic community. On September 4, 1988 the parish, which then counted 940 members, was returned to the diocese. Wency LAGUIDAO was the last Oblate Pastor
"Our Lady Queen of Peace" parish was built in Koga (diocese of Fukuoka) in 1955. Koga is a city about 20 kilometers east of the center of Fukuoka. Bishop Fukahori, happy with the success of the Fathers in Nakamachi, asked them to open another mission to the east of the city to bridge the area between Fukuoka City and Kita-Kyushu City. Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York provided the funds to build the entire compound: a church, a rectory and a kindergarten. The church spire, rising some 20 meters out of the pine trees was an inspiration and attraction for anyone travelling on National Highway Route 3 . Fr. Timothy Mulvey was the first pastor. In the early years much of the work of evangelization was among the sick in the TB-sanatoriums in the area. The Catholic population increased from 20 in 1955 to 470 in 1987. By 1998 there were 881 people in the parish
"St. Joseph" parish at Naruto was founded in 1959. Naruto is about 20 kilometers northeast of Tokushima City. The parish territory extends from the Yoshino River northward to the Kagawa Prefecture border, some 60 kilometers away, and westward up the North bank of the Yoshino River as far as Wakimachi, some 30 kilometers away. Naruto was for many years a mission station of Tokushima. Already in 1949, when the Oblates took over the mission district, there were 20 Christians, thanks to the zealous work of a lay catechist, Mr. Joseph Sueho TSUDA. On December 8, 1952 Mr. Tsuda started his novitiate as an Oblate Brother, and on the same day in 1959 he pronounced his perpetual vows. After a very meritorious life he went to his eternal reward on July 23, 1981. On February 2, 1959 Fr. Bertram SILVER took occupancy of the new rectory, and on February 16 was formally installed as pastor. On February 27 the new buildings were blessed by the Superior General of the Oblates, Very Reverend Father Leo Deschatelets. The kindergarten hall served as a chapel until 1978. In 1978 the entire mission complex was moved to a new place. What once had been in the middle of a peanut field had become the busiest corner of the city center. Also, poor foundations and termites had necessitated reconstruction of the original site. The entire mission compound was therefore moved to a developing residential area north of the railway station. For many years that area had been covered with shallow ponds for salt extraction. On the acquired piece of land a separate church was built, besides a rectory and a kindergarten. There were 182 Catholics in 1996. This parish has until now given four priestly vocations, one diocesan, three religious of whom two are Oblate and one Franciscan.
A mission station was established at Tomioka-cho in Anan, in 1962. Anan is a city 20 kilometers south of Tokushima city. The area covered by this parish extends all along the east coast of Shikoku as far south as the Kochi Prefecture border, some 65 kilometers away, and west deep into the mountains, altogether an area of about half of Tokushima Prefecture. There were 45 Catholics in the Anan area in 1962. A kindergarten was built there in 1966, the hall of it serving as a chapel. A priest's residence was completed the same year. Fr. John Kenney MAHONEY took up residence as the first pastor. On May 5, 1993 the Ordinary of the Takamatsu Diocese, Bishop Joseph Satoshi Fukahori, blessed the new church in Anan, dedicated to Our Lady of Hope. The initiative for it came from Fr. Richard HARR, the pastor at that time. It holds about 100 people. The entire area has a population of about 280,000, of whorn 87 were Catholics at the end of 1996. There is a mission station at Mugi, 45 kilometers south, with 6 Catholics.
"Christ the Redeemer" church in Nakamura is in charge of the entire southwest sector of Kochi Prefecture, an area of several hundred square kilometers. In the early 60's Fathers from Nakajimacho in Kochi City started making monthly visits to the few Christians scattered throughout this vast area extending some 130 kilometers along the coast of Tosa Bay. It was a nerveracking bus ride along the winding, unpaved mountain roads. Fr. William MAHER rented a small house in the center of Nakamura City in 1970 and took up residence. In 1977 a rectory with a chapel was built on a site behind the railway station. next to the Ushiro River, a tributary of the Shimanto River. In an area larger than all of Kagawa Prefecture, with a population of 112,000, there were 69 Catholics at the end of 1996.
History of Toyohashi Parish
The history of Christianity in Japan is certainly most known for its persecution and martyrdom. In Nagoya Diocese there are thousands of records of people executed because they had become Christians. This is also true in Toyohashi Parish area. In the historical records of Yoshida, the former name of Toyohashi city, the lord of the Yoshida Castle Tadatoshi Matsudaira (1562-1633), has recorded in his official diary the execution by fire of a Christian vassal.
December 5th, year 8 of the Kan'ei Era (1631), there has come to the government of Edo (present day Tokyo) a denunciation of a Christian presence at Yoshida. 17th - The Edo government official Yatobei has brought the sentence that the Christian that has been found in Yoshida, Edo's jurisdiction, should be executed by fire. 26th - The Christian KYUDAYU was executed by fire. The sentence of execution has also been registered in the city's historical records in volume II, pages 97-98 and in volume IV, pages 198-200. This was the period when Ieyasu Tokugawa started to restrict the Christian propaganda. It is also important to remember that this occurred 6 years before the Shimabara rebellion (Nagasaki) that lead to the proscription of Christianity in Japan in 1612, and to the first closing of the country in 1633. It is notable that this execution was done 30 years before the one in Nishizaki (Nagasaki) where the already canonized 26 Japanese Martyrs where executed. Our present church is located a few meters from what remains of the Yoshida Castle. In fact the present land was part of the castle's property before the II World War. That this land is nourished by such great witness of "acceptance of the faith" should also encourage us in our present difficulty of acceptance between native Japanese believers and foreign believers with all their cultural differences and riches.
The present history
The present Parish is the oldest mission presence in Nagoya Diocese, since the opening of Japan in the Meiji Era. In 1877, Fr. François Vigroux of the Paris Foreign Missionary Society had come that far from their base in Tokyo.
After that another mission station was opened in Nagoya at what is now Chikara Machi Church, from there Fr. Jean Daumer and Fr. Jean Cherel served the mission. In 1922 the Nagoya Apostolic Prefecture was erected and entrusted to the Missionaries of the Divine Word - (SVD). In 1933, Fr. Mohr, SVD bought the land at number 246 in the Hatcho area. There he built a small house that served as a provisional chapel. It was burned down in 1945 during World War II. The baptismal records 1 and 2 of the parish are dated 1933, therefore, that is considered the beginning of the parish, according to the present diocesan Bishop Agostinho Jun'ichi Nomura. In 1948, Fr. Yoshio Hirata bought the present land and built the former chapel. In that period a small group of believers from the already existing Russian Orthodox Church joined the Catholic community.
1954 - The Lourdes grotto was built.
1956 - Establishment of the Association of Saint Vincent de Paul.
1957 - Fr. Masao Mizoguchi became the Parish Priest. He constructed the Catholic Mausoleum at Mukaiyama Cementery.
1979 - Fr. Teruma Iwazaki was named Parish priest. At that time mass was also held at Tahara, in a Catholic's house.
1981 - The present church was build and dedicated.
1987 - The social care association began. Now it helps in an Old folks Home in Tahara.
1997 - Fr. Masayoshi Kariura was named Pastor. At about the same time the present wave of foreign migrants in Mikawa area began.
2006 - In order to answer the needs of the mission along with the migrants' pastoral care, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate - OMI assumed the pastoral care of the parish.
2008 - The church was renovated and enlarged in order to answer present needs.
Our church is dedicated to Saint Peter. There is no exact record of that dedication, however, most probably that choice was made by Fr. Yoshio Hirata who conducted the construction of the former chapel. Both, he and the Prefect Apostolic Magoshiro Matsuoka, who presided at the dedication of that chapel, had Peter as their baptismal name.& nbsp; Our logo mark expresses that dedication with the letter "P" and the "keys", symbol of the church command given by Jesus to the apostle Peter. More than a simple symbol the log must remind us the base of the confession in the Christ. In fact, the well known symbol shows the "XP" together. Those two letters in Greek are written "Χρ" the first 2 letters of Christos.& nbsp; Our Japanese inscription was made by Fr. Masao Mizoguchi, a shodo teacher. The order has been changed to adapt to the new juridical name.
Even after digitalization, the inscription keeps its beauty and the history of this church.& nbsp;
Within three years of their arrival in Japan the Oblates were blessed with their first native vocations. The novitiate was canonically erected at the Aki mission on May 31 , 1952, welcoming a group of Oblate Brother novices. Of those who subsequently entered two took vows on December 8, 1953. One was Joseph Sueho TSUDA. He became the first Japanese Oblate. He was 54 years of age when he took his first vows. (Ed: Cf the article on Br. Tsuda for the description of the extraordinary course of his life) The other one was John Takaji IWO, who some four years later, in 1957, joined two other young men who wished to study for the priesthood in the Oblate Congregation: Michael Soichiro YAMASAKI, and Leonard Morio INUl. They made their novitiate in the Eastern American Province and after pronouncing vows pursued their scholastic studies at the Oblate scholasticate in Washington, D.C. On June 24, 1962 the first Japanese Oblate priest, Fr. Michael Soichiro Yamasaki, was ordained at Nakajimacho, Kochi, by Bishop Paul Y. Taguchi. The next ordination of Japanese Oblates was that of Fathers Leonard Inui and of John lwo. They were ordained in Tokushima by Bishop Francis Eikichi Tanaka, the ordinary of Takamatsu Diocese, on June 14, 1964.
Tokyo / Sekimachi
From the beginning of the mission, missionaries arriving from abroad spent one or two years in language school before taking up their apostolic tasks. The difficulty of the Japanese language, especially its writing in Chinese characters, convinced most that a longer period of preparation for the ministry was advisable. Learning from the Jesuits and the Salesians who were successful in bringing new missionaries to Japan before ordination, the Vicar Provincial in 1954 proposed to the General Administration that Scholastic Brothers be allowed to come to Japan after their perpetual vows. A program of two years of language school and three or four years at the newly opened Pontifical Faculty of Theology at Sophia University would hopefully provide them with the chance to acquire deeper skills in the language and further their knowledge of local customs, history and culture. Fr. General agreed in principle to the proposal and the Home province gave preliminary approval to implement the program in 1957. An impressive, ferro-concrete residence was put up in Sekimachi, Nerima Ward, Tokyo, on a site close to the Theological Faculty of Sophia University. It was dedicated by Very Reverend Father Deschatelets on January 17, 1961. At its zenith, it housed 16 scholastics and young Fathers in language school. The vocation crisis brought on the "lean years", and the number of the community went down to three. It became impossible to maintain this building, so in 1972 the property was sold, and the community moved to a smaller residence in the adjoining Hoya City. The first Superior was Patrick HEALY, subsequently followed by Jozef HOFMANS and Raymond BOURGOIN.
The move to Hoya took place in April 1972. At that time it was home to the scholastics who where going to the Theology Department of Sophia University in Shakujii, Tokyo. Part of their formation included involvement in the local parish, as well as running a little juku (private teaching) for English, Science and Mathematics. This was a carry over from the Sekimachi days. One Oblate was in charge of the formation of those scholastics. Three scholastics went through in this way. The house also served as a base community to return to on weekends and holidays for those Oblates who studied the Japanese language in the Tokyo area (Roppongi/Kamakura) at that time, with daily lodging at their language school. Besides the formation of the younger Oblates (which naturally included monthly meetings with formators of other religious societies) the men stationed there through the years have been involved in various ministries. These took the form of teaching regular courses at schools, as well as meetings in extracurricular groups. The teaching included secular and religious subjects. Personal guidance in social and religious matters also occupied an important part of those involvements. Although several candidates entered the novitiate and pronounced their first vows, it took from 1964 until 1993 before the next Japanese Oblate would be ordained a priest. On March 29, 1993 Leo Satoshi KAWAGUCHI received the holy priesthood in the church of Koga, from Bishop Joseph Hisajiro Matsunaga, the ordinary of the Fukuoka Diocese. During that same period with hardly any growth in native Oblate members one Oblate Brother, Dominic Nobuhiko YAGI, pronounced his first vows in 1988 , and his perpetual vows on August 4, 1991. Both of them are products of our House of Studies in Nagoya which we will now consider.
With the closing of the Oblate House of Studies in Tokyo there was no longer a place for future candidates. Initially this caused no difficulties, but when the "lean years" appeared to have come to an end, and new candidates presented themselves, and gradually from overseas also new Oblate missionaries were appointed to Japan, there was again a need for a center. Different possibilities were considered out of which the decision was made to start a foundation in the city of Nagoya. The basis for this decision was that the Nanzan University of the S.V.D. Fathers provided the necessary facilities for the training of future priests, while for the new foreign missionaries there were language schools available for the study of Japanese. Fr. Ronald LAFRAMBOISE was assigned as the Superior of the new Scholasticate and was installed by then Provincial Fr. Angelo SIANI, in the presence of the two first Scholastics-to-be, and the Superior of the Provincial House in Kochi, Fr. John Kenney MAHONEY. The ceremony was held in the chapel of the Provincial House in Kochi at 3 P.M., on September 8, 1985. At 4 P.M. of the same day the two future scholastics pronounced their first vows as Oblates in the parish church of Nakajimacho in Kochi, in the presence of many Fathers of the Vice-Province, of Fr. Desmond O'DONNELL, the Regional Superior of the Asia-Oceania Region and of the Provincials and Superiors of Delegations of the Asia-Oceania Region. The parents and relatives of the two Brothers, as well as many friends and parishioners from the two Kochi City parishes and the Akaoka parish attended the ceremony. Although the decision was already made to have the seminarians take their courses at Nanzan University in Nagoya there was yet no place for them to stay in that city. The family of one of the parishioners of the church in Itami. Maria Kime Kubo, who had died in the Spring of 1985, generously offered the use of her house to the Oblates, free of rent. It was an old house but very comfortable. Fr. LaFramboise and the two Brothers moved into it on the evening of September 17, 1985. The scholasticate community intended to live in that house until the following March. The Brothers would prepare for the entrance exam for Nanzan University. Meanwhile the search for a house in Nagoya continued. The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart had a small house on their property in Nagoya, which they had used to house their seminarians. Since they had no seminarians at the time they agreed to rent the house to the Oblates for a year or two. On March 25, 1986 the two seminarians-to-be, together with an Oblate Brother, took the belongings of the scholasticate community from Itami to the new place in Nagoya. The next day they were joined by the Superior, Fr. LaFramboise, and at 5 P.M. they celebrated Mass in the chapel of the main house of the Sacred Heart Fathers. it was the first Mass of the Oblate Scholasticate community in Nagoya. Because the agreement with the Sacred Heart Fathers was only for two years the search for a house had to be continued. Shortly before Christmas 1986 a suitable and affordable place was found. After obtaining the necessary permissions from the Oblate Superiors in Rome and the local Superiors, Oblate and diocesan, a deal was concluded and the house became Oblate property on February 10, 1987. The house, located in a nice section of the city, has three stories. It is near the subway, only four stops from the Major Seminary. For the time being the space of the house was sufficient for the number of inhabitants, but gradually there was an increase of personnel. Ray BOURGOIN followed Ron as superior of the seminary. Young Oblate priests from abroad who had been assigned to Japan, came to Nagoya to study the Japanese language. They and a growing number of Japanese candidates filled the house to capacity. Again thoughts turned to expansion. At the present location the whole property is taken up by the existing house. So far the search for a larger facility has not yet led to a satisfactory solution; so, the search goes on. ... The first product of the seminary in Nagoya Leo Satoshi KAWAGUCHI is its present Superior.
In the newsletter from Rome, Communications, that reports on the activities of the General Council of the Oblates, the first time the name 'Korea' was mentioned was in the issue of November 1988, where it was said that "for the time being it has been decided to limit our research to Korea". In the next issue of March 1989 it was announced that in January "Fr. Desmond O'Donnell has gone to Korea and has given a report of his findings, which has been well received by the General Council members. A decision will be made at the plenary session of the Council in May". And so we read in the June issue, of the same year of Communications: " 'The Oblate Cross Covers the World.' To keep this saying to be true we have accepted the invitation of His Excellency Angelo Nam Sou KIM, bishop of Suwon, to send Oblates into South Korea. At least two Oblates will devote two years to the study of the language and the culture of the country before engaging in any pastoral ministry.
Then, in the issue of July 1990 we find: "On the occasion of a liturgy during the Intercapitular Meeting (3-22 May) we celebrated the send-off to the missions of Fathers Vincenzo BORDO and Mauro CONCARDI. They made their departure the following day towards Korea." In the more general newsletter OMI Information of the same month, July 1990, the event is related somewhat more explicitly: "Father General and the members of the General Council have joined the communities of formation of the Italian Province, at Vermicino, on May 12, to celebrate the departure of Fathers Vincenzo Bordo and Mauro Concardi who took the plane for Seoul the same day. In a highly symbolic gesture, the parents of the two missionaries led the offertory procession." The same newsletter, in its October issue of 1990, presents some excerpts of an article by Father Bordo, explaining why the Oblates sent missionaries to Korea. In further reports on the development of the mission we read in OMI Information of March 1992: "Three Oblates originally from Italy are now in Korea, a mission dependent on the Vice Province of Japan ... ." The article went on describing the study and living situation of the missionaries, their search for more permanent living quarters, and their contacts with the clergy and the population of Korea. The personnel of the Oblate mission of Korea has grown to five priests, four from Italy and one from Sri Lanka (Jaffna Province). From an entry in Information we learn that "each one of us is engaged in a special apostolate: a restaurant for poor people, work with the immigrants, and with the handicapped The best is yet to come; we are dreaming of North Korea and of China. This can only come about if we deepen our roots in this society; the fruits will follow ... .
Oblate Mission of Korea.
The Oblates have the following rationale and goals in opening the mission of Korea.
Such a mission will place Oblates in a strategic position in a region where the Church is growing and where society is still in transition from its traditional Confucian roots to a modern technological society.
In the Asian context, Korea was a bridge between the Buddhist cultures of China and Japan. The present experience of the Church in Korea can be a bridge for the possible Christian growth in other cultures of East Asia.
While the Korean Church is committed to social justice and is recognized as a religious community in the present Korean society, there is still a place for evangelization of the poor. The Oblate charism of our preference for the poor can be an added dimension for that local Church
An Oblate experience in such a developing process of a culture moving from its traditional roots into a modern technological society will also benefit our experience in other parts of Asia as it faces similar shifts. Moreover, it would be expected that our experience in western cultures that have already experienced modernity will help enrich the dialogue into which the Korean Church must enter
Every local Church is enriched to the extent that it shares in the variety of the religious charisms in the universal Church. Faithful to our traditions as verbalized in the Oblate Constitutions and Rules, i.e. Constitution 5 which says: "We are a missionary Congregation. Our principal service in the Church is to proclaim Christ and his Kingdom to the most abandoned. We preach the Gospel among people who have not yet received it and help them see their own values in its light. . .." And Constitution 7 continues: "... We will spare no effort to awaken or to reawaken the faith in the people to whom we are sent, and we will help them discover 'who Christ is'. Our mission puts us on constant call to respond to the most urgent needs of the Church through various forms of witness and ministry, but especially through proclaiming the Word of God which finds its fulfilment in the celebration of the sacraments and in service to others. We have as our goal to establish Christian communities and Churches deeply rooted in the local culture and fully responsible for their own development and growth.", we will share this charism with the Korean Church as we focus on the evangelization of the poor as well as on the call to evangelization in other parts of the world.
As a way of sharing that charism, we shall be open to receiving and even fostering vocations from among the local Church.
We will seek to participate in dialogue with the emerging culture as well as with the cultures it can and will affect.