Archbishop Kikuchi’s Easter message
12 April 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:
I wish you all a happy Easter!
This year, it is unfortunate that we are not able to gather together in the church on Easter day to offer our prayers. Oftentimes, the Easter celebration coincides with the beginning of spring, reflecting the joyous celebration of a new beginning for the Church community together with those who received baptism. However, it is sad that until the government’s declaration of a state of emergency is lifted, it will be difficult for us to resume the public masses and hold various church activities.
With the postponement of the Rite of Baptism scheduled on Easter day and the cancellation of the joint celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Archdiocese scheduled for the end of May, I am deeply sorry for all those who have been eagerly waiting preparing for the day of their baptism and confirmation.
According to the traditional teachings of the Church, catechumens should keep in mind that those who have explicit intentions to be incorporated into the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism, by the work of the Holy Spirit, are already part of the Church community. Although the Rite of Baptism is yet to be scheduled, I sincerely welcome you all as members of the community, those who have been prepared to receive the sacrament on Easter day.
At present, the Church is in the midst of a battle with an invisible virus, and suffers with the people of the world.
While suffering with all people in the modern world, the Church, in solidarity with the peoples of the world, lifts high the hope for new life brought by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and acts an instrument in overcoming the darkness of anxiety and fear, breathing out life into this modern world.
As we celebrate Easter, let us be reminded of our very existence as a Church. Baptized and called to a new life, we are united together in the bond of faith, building the one body of Christ. Our very existence, our living in faith day by day, is the Church.
As a Church, we give top priority to protecting the lives of every person, and during this situation we respond accordingly. Let us strive not only to protect ourselves, but to live our lives full of compassion for others.
In particular, as we face these difficulties which is extending for a long period of time, let us not neglect those whose lives are being threatened in various forms, among them are those people who are forgotten and isolated, those who are financially deprived, those who are sick, those who are discriminated due to differences in the way of thinking and those who are involved in conflicts. Let us protect the gift of life.
Our risen Lord, who conquered death, gives us hope for new life. The fact that we are in this difficult situation, gives us the strength to break the chains of loneliness, to rise up supporting each other, and to raise the light of hope in our society.
While praying for the immediate end of this difficult situation, I pray that the abundant blessing of the risen Lord be with you all.
Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo