Christmas and New Year Message
Greeting for the Year of the Eucharist
Dec 25, 2004
To all the faithful of Tokyo Archdiocese,
On the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus and as we look towards the New Year of 2005, I pray that you will be all blessed with health and happiness by our Lord God.
I would like to share with you the joy I feel of welcoming a new Auxiliary Bishop to Tokyo Archdiocese. With his invaluable assistance and cooperation, I dedicate myself to continue working on the designated diocesan priorities that has developed through the shared vision of the laity, religious and priests of the diocese.
Looking back over this year, I realize how many things have happened. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of partnership between the Archdioceses of Tokyo and Cologne, and at the same time the 25th anniversary of our partnership with the Church of Myanmar. We hosted the 30th Justice and Peace National Assembly in Tokyo. I deeply appreciated that these events were special moments of grace and revelation. On September 4th, I presided at the 4th Anniversary mass of my Archbishop’s Episcopal Installation, and I took the opportunity to proclaim a special ‘Message on the 4th Anniversary of My Episcopal Installation’. Now as we greet the New Year, I would like to ask all of you to reflect again on the contents of this message.
As you all know, Pope John Paul II named the 12 month period from October 2004 to October 2005 as ‘The Year of the Eucharist’. The purpose of ‘The Year of the Eucharist’ is stated clearly in the Pope’s Apostolic Letter ‘Stay with us, Lord!’ Encouraged, supported and led by the instructions contained within the Pope’s Apostolic Letter, I look again at what we are seeking to achieve in the Archdiocese. With your valuable cooperation, we have been working on ways to tackle the three designated diocesan priorities, and reviewing the new structures and policies for the Tokyo Cathedral and for diocesan organizations that are situated within its compound. Now learning from this Apostolic Letter, I would like to put the following subjects into practice during ‘the Year of the Eucharist’.
1. To have people attend mass more frequently. And to work towards a deeper, more meaningful celebration of the Eucharist. Also promote spiritual activities centered on the Body of Christ, such as benediction and visiting the holy Sacrament.
2. To foster a Christian community of forgiveness, healing, comforting encouragement, teaching and helping each other. To build and develop church communities centered on the Risen Christ present in the Eucharist. ”I will make every possible endeavor for our Church to grow as a wide-open community, open especially to those who have a weak position within society and to the poor living under pressure; a community that provides comfort, encouragement, power, hope and help. From the sermon for the Installation as Archbishop of Tokyo, September 3rd, 2000”
3. We have to devote ourselves to resolving the various problems arising from poverty and evil of the present world. Instead of describing the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, in chapter 13 of his gospel, John tells us of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. I realize that through the institution of the Eucharist, that Jesus is showing we need to be of service to our brothers and sisters through out the world, and together confront the problems of evil in our world.
4. Offer concern and care to the lonely and mentally suffering people living within our large city. This reminds me the words of Mother Teresa, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.” “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
From my heart I offer you my thanks, prayers and wishes,
Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada
Archbishop of Tokyo