July 8, 2001
Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
This is my first pastoral visit to this parish and also to you, who attend the English Mass.
It is my great pleasure to celebrate the Holy Mass with you and for you, who come from various foreign countries, especially the Philippines.
You are staying, living and working in this country, Japan.
If I were to ask you why you are in this country, why you came to Japan, your answers would be varied and many.
Someone may say. “I have come to work”
Another may say. “I have come to get married, to have a good time.”
Or “I have come to study” and so on.
Whatever reason you may have, in fact you are here as Christians, as Catholics.
What do you think God wishes you to do in Japan?
I believe it is God that has sent you to this country, although you may have not realized. it.
In today’s Gospel Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples and sent them out ahead of him, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit.
As these seventy-two, you are sent as Evangelizers. You are here in Japan to proclaim the Good News and evangelize the people and society of Japan through your daily lives, words, works and prayers.
On June 25 I published a message entitled “A new step for the reorganization of the parishes towards Evangelization in the 21st century”.
In this message I appeal to every one of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Tokyo that we cannot go ahead without a radical renewal of the diocese, especially of the all parishes.
You will get the English edition soon and be able to understand my appeal better.
You are no more guests of this diocese. You are members of the Tokyo Archdiocese and you have duties as well as rights. You are expected not only to sustain the church in many ways but also to develop our faith communities.
I sincerely ask you to pray for me and also to give me your cooperation and strength.
I need your help to fulfill my duty as Archbishop of Tokyo.
As I close my speech I send you the same words as St Paul did in today’s reading:
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers. Amen”.