Re: Preparation for the Establishment of “Caritas Tokyo”
Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:
Re: Preparation for the Establishment of “Caritas Tokyo”
At the end of December last year, the Archdiocese of Tokyo has announced the completion of the “Directives of Evangelization and Pastoral Care” to guide its activities for the time being. We believe that the Holy Spirit works in the church. Therefore, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we have requested the cooperation of as many communities as possible to share their opinions and to make recommendations in formulating our “Directives of Evangelization and Pastoral Care.” Believing in the words of our Lord, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” we rely on the Holy Spirit working deeply in our community. This is important for our community in discerning the path to take and in setting the direction of the whole Archdiocese. I would like to thank all of you, brothers and sisters, for your cooperation.
In formulating our “Directives on Evangelization and Pastoral Care,” we were inspired by the words of Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father in his encyclical letter on Christian Love “Deus Caritas Est” states, “the Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia).” (See #25). This three-fold responsibility is closely connected to each other. In order to fulfill the mission of proclaiming the Word of God, we must first be a community celebrating the sacraments. A community that celebrates the sacraments is then driven into the ministry of charity. The ministry of charity is to live the way of life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The church cannot neglect this three-fold responsibility. Our Directives of Evangelization and Pastoral Care stipulates that in order to fully carry out this three-fold responsibility, we must commit ourselves to its pillars of fostering “a missionary community,” “a fraternal community,” and “a life-protecting community.”
Unfortunately, at the time when these directives have been put together, we were already in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, thus, it was not possible for the whole Archdiocese to start taking concrete actions immediately. However, for some items in our directives, we have assigned persons to take charge and to continue evaluating and coordinating the matter for proper implementation.
I am pleased to inform you that it has now been made possible to start concrete actions to realize one of the several items in our directives.
“To be a missionary community” is one of the pillars in our “Directives of Evangelization and Pastoral Care,” and it includes as a specific action the “Networking of the ‘Ministry of Charity’” which can be concretely realized through the “Creation of Caritas Tokyo Archdiocese.” To facilitate its implementation, I have appointed Episcopal Vicar Rev. Fr. Akiyoshi Amamoto as coordinator for the establishment of “Caritas Tokyo” which is scheduled to officially start around April 2022 with the following details.
Name: Caritas Tokyo
Location: Catholic Meguro Church premises
Date of Establishment: 24 April 2022 (Sunday), the Second Sunday of Easter
(Note: Preparations for the establishment will begin on 8 August 2021.)
Overview of the new organization:
Works of charity is a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level, and it is the task of the bishop that such is practiced in his diocese. (See Benedict XVI “Caritas Deus Est” #20 et seq.). Therefore, the committees in charge of activities relating to works of charity (Committees on Social Action) in the Tokyo Archdiocese will be integrated and reorganized as one organization under the name of “Caritas Tokyo.”
“Caritas” is the name of the charitable institution of the entire church, with “Caritas International” in the Vatican, and with national organizations set up in each bishops’ conference like Caritas Japan operating in alliance with each other as a confederation. The Caritas Tokyo of the Archdiocese is an independent entity, separate from the aforementioned international organization.
The following committees will be included in the reorganization. I would like to express my wholehearted gratitude for the devoted work of the many people who have cooperated with us in these committees, and I sincerely request for your understanding and cooperation in order to make a fresh start within this new organization.
The following existing committees in the Archdiocese will have to cease all activities for a while starting at the end of December 2021.
Social Welfare Committee
Buraku Issues Committee
Ten Days for Peace Committee
Justice and Peace Committee
Disaster Response Team
Above all, the Catholic Tokyo International Center (CTIC) will continue to exist as a central organization, and will be transformed to adapt to the new organization while integrating the various social activities conducted to date.
We will set up the “Preparatory Team for the Establishment of Caritas Tokyo” to look into the specific organizational structure. The members of the team will be appointed separately, but the overall coordinator will be Episcopal Vicar Rev. Fr. Akiyoshi Amamoto and the staff-in-charge will be Mr. Isao Tadokoro of the Archdiocesan Office.
The ministry of the “Apostleship of the Sea” will be reorganized and will be absorbed into the new organization, however, the “Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Women” which deals with harassment cases among other sensitive issues will continue to be an independent committee.
Since “Caritas Tokyo” will be based on present CTIC as the main coordinating body, its location will be within the premises of the Catholic Meguro Church where CTIC is currently located.
This will be a new challenge, but it has become even more important now for the church to proclaim the Gospel through works of charity in this confused modern society. Let us bring together our strength, brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese, that through our witness to the Gospel we may live the love of God concretely. Thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.
Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo