By Bro Tetsushi Francis Sudo, SDB
Tokyo, Japan, 5 June 2019 -- The most senior Salesian in the Japan Province, Fr Joseph Emi Zenkichi, passed peacefully away to the house of the Father at the hospital in Beppu (Kyushu island), after 78 years of Salesian consecrated life and 71 years of priesthood.
Fr. Emi was born in Fukuoka in 1921 and entered the Miyazaki-Shoshingakko (Aspirantate of Miyazaki Diocese) then joined the Salesian congregation, made his first profession on 31 January 1941, perpetual profession on 31 August 1946 and was ordained to priesthood on 21 December 1948. During 54 years of hardworking pastoral and educative ministry, from 1950 to 2004, he exercised a variety of ministries, contributing both to the Catholic Church of Japan as well to the growth of the Salesian Charism: as Rector of Salesian communities, parish priest, principal of the kindergarten, in charge of the publishing house, lecturer in formation house, vice-provincial and confessor.
Over his long Salesian life he fulfilled the following roles:
- 1950-1953 TOKYO, Salesio Gakuen
- 1953-1955 TOKYO, Chofu Seminary (formation house, lecturer)
- 1955-1959 TOKYO, Salesio Gakuen (teacher, delegate to DB Alumni)
- 1959-1964 TOKYO, Mikawashima parish (assistant parish priest) - (Social welfare department in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan - in charge)
- 1964-1967 TOKYO, Arakawa, Don Bosco Nursery
- 1967-1970 TOKYO, Vice-provincial of Japan Province
- 1968-1973 TOKYO, Arakawa, Rector and Parish Priest of Mikawashima
- 1973-1979 TOKYO, Emi-Juen in charge (senior citizens' home)
- 1979-1982 TOKYO, Arakawa, Rector
- 1982-1983 TOKYO, Emi-Juen in charge
- 1983-1987 TOKYO, Adachi, Parish Priest and Principal of Kindergarten
- 1987-1989 TOKYO, Don Bosco sha (Salesian Press) in charge
- 1989-1995 TOKYO, Mikawashima parish priest
- 1995-2004 TOKYO, Arakawa community confessor
- 2004-2016 MIYAZAKI, community confessor, Caritas sisters confessor
- 2016-2019 BEPPU, Salesio house (Senior Salesians)
- 2019. June 5: BEPPU - passsed away at the age of 97
The Province of Japan give thanks for this life-long faithful witness of joyful Salesian consecrated life. On the memorial photo are the words of Psalm 30:5: Rejoicing comes in the morning....