During the state of emergency
27 April 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Tokyo:
The risen Lord who promised to His disciples “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28,20) is inviting us to live a new life. Even in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, we firmly believe that the Lord will never abandon us, and is with us today.
Confronted with this crisis of life, we are made aware of our human weaknesses and we remember the words of Paul: “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me” (2 Corinthians 12,9). It is indeed the power of our Almighty God at work through our weaknesses that is indispensable for our world now seeking for help.
Therefore, let us stay home as much as we can. It is not running away to hide, but rather it is a positive response to protect the life of all people.
At the same time, let us pray for the mighty hand of God to protect those who for various reasons could not stay home, and also for those without home. Let us also pray for the safety of all health care and front-line workers who are working hard day and night to protect life. And we pray that God may lay His healing hands upon all those who are sick.
In the face of difficulties, let us strive in the love and mercy of God to help each other, supporting one another, respecting every one, and journeying towards unity in solidarity. Caritas Japan has also taken the initiative to raise funds to support activities protecting life.
Until the declaration of state of emergency is lifted, Church activities including the celebration of “public masses” cannot be resumed. For the time being, we will maintain the status quo. And even after the declaration is lifted, it will be necessary to carefully assess the situation for some time. It would require us to continue to avoid the so-called “Three Cs” (Closed spaces with poor ventilation, Crowded places with many people nearby, Close-contact settings such as close range conversations ≪Source: MHLW≫) and to act responsibly. We are presently making the necessary preparations such that all the faithful are informed about the future directions of the Archdiocese after the declaration has been lifted.
Even though we cannot gather together physically, we are all connected spiritually as one body centered on Jesus who is always with us. Those who have been preparing to receive baptism this Easter but have not yet received the sacrament to date are also part of this one body. Remaining in your own places, new members are invited to pray together with all the members of our community for the power of God to reign over the world.
May our merciful God bless you and protect all people.
Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, SVD
Archbishop of Tokyo