RE: RESTRICTIONS ON CHURCH ACTIVITIES DURING THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR SEASON

Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:

RE: RESTRICTIONS ON CHURCH ACTIVITIES DURING THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR SEASON

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo, for your cooperation in our precautionary measures against COVID-19 infection. We have spent about two years walking in this darkness. And now that October this year is nearing its end , it is time to plan for church activities during the Christmas and New Year season.

Since the resumption of the public masses on October 1, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has continued to decline, and the situation seems to have calmed down. However, at the same time, the experts have called attention to the fact that there may be another surge of infection in the future, and unfortunately, it will still be necessary for us to take careful preventive measures to protect life.

We are fully aware that many people participate in the Christmas and New Year masses every year, which is also an opportunity for evangelization. However, as it was last year, in keeping our commitment that “we will not be infected, nor will we allow others to be infected” and in order to avoid the Three C’s (Crowded Places, Close-contact Settings, Closed Spaces) we cannot help but say that it will be difficult for many people to freely participate in the Holy Mass.

Although it will depend on the size and the situation of the parish, we will continue to implement during the Christmas and New Year season the present Stage 3 precautionary measures against COVID-19 (as of October 1). We also recommend that the parish make a public announcement in advance concerning the entry restrictions.

Please be informed that the Archbishop’s Mass on Christmas and New Year will be live streamed using the YouTube account of Sekiguchi Church.

It is unfortunate that we have to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord under various restrictions again as we did last year. Now that it is difficult to gather together, let us continue to journey as one while putting our trust in our Lord Jesus who promised us, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” and reaffirming our spiritual bond in the one body centered on the newborn Child.

Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo