30 August 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:
SPECIAL MONTH TO “PROTECT ALL LIFE”
(September 1 ～ October 4, 2020)
Pope Francis released in 2015 his encyclical “LAUDATO SI: On the Care for our Common Home” calling the attention of all people around the world to tackle comprehensively the various ecological issues facing “our common home.” In this regard, the Pope has established September 1 as an annual “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.” In Japan, this world day of prayer is set on the first Sunday of September, thus it will be observed this year on September 6.
In unity with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church, and with other Churches and Christian communities, this day will be a day “to reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. (2016 Papal Message)” In other words, it is also a day to encourage actions concerning environmental issues and to call for conversion in our way of living.
The bishops of Japan, in response to the Papal visit in November last year, have designated a special period of time to put into action the various messages that Pope Francis had sent out from Japan to the world and to deepen understanding, reflect, pray and act according to the theme of the Papal visit “Protect All Life.” The message sent out by the Pope from Japan to the world expressing his strong feelings concerning the gift of life is exactly the concrete manifestation of the message written in “LAUDATO SI.”
Therefore, the bishops of Japan have established the period from September 1 to October 4 (the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi) as “the special month to PROTECT ALL LIFE.” Archbishop Takami, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, addressed everyone that, “in order to protect all life, it is evidently important to make changes in our lifestyle and daily habits, but especially during this month, the entire Japanese Church must deepen consciousness and commitment to protecting all life, and work with the people of the local community, especially the youth, in taking concrete actions.”
This year, we have no choice but to limit special activities in the Church in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But let us always keep in mind the call of the Holy Father, responding with actions such as saying together the prayer prepared by the Bishops’ Conference, deepening our concern for “our common home,” and may this be a time also of conversion for each one of us.
Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo