Provincial of Japan, Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, appointed as Bishop
Vatican -- Today, on 2 June 2018, Pope Francis has appointed as bishop of the diocese of Saitama, Japan, Fr Mario Michiaki Yamanouchi, S.D.B., currently provincial of the Salesian Society of Saint John Bosco in Japan (GIA).
Fr Mario Michiaki Yamanouchi, S.D.B., was born on 8 December 1955 in Saiki, diocese of Oita. He entered the Salesian Novitiate in Manucho, Argentina, in 1975. He gave his perpetual vows on 24 January 1982. From 1976 to 1979 he studied philosophy and theology in Córdoba, Argentina. Fr. Mario holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and educational sciences, then was ordained a priest on 21 December 1984 in San Juan, Argentina, and returned to Japan on 26 February 1997. Since priestly ordination he has held various positions in Argentina, Japan and at provincial level.
In Argentina: catechist at the Domenico Savio Institute in Córdoba (1985-1987; catechist at the Michele Rua Institute in Córdoba (1987-1991), Novice director at San Michele in La Plata (1991-1992 rector of the Ramos Mejia House in Buenos Aires (1992-1996), and provincial councilor (1987-1992).
In Japan: he studied to regain mastery of the Japanese language at the Salesian Study Centre in Oita (1997-1998), then served as spiritual assistant at the Salesian Polytechnic of Ikuei (Tokyo) and Rector of the religious communities of Suginami (1999-2004), of Chofu - Formation house (2004-2010) and of the Provincial house in Yotsuya. At the province level he was a spiritual director of the Mary Help of Christian Association, ADMA (2010-2014), 2007-2008), provincial councilor and delegate for the formation (2007-2009), provincial delegate for Don Bosco Past Pupils (2009-2012), Vice-provincial (2010-2014) and last December 4, 2014 was appointed by the Rector Major as provincial of the Salesian Society in Japan (2014-2020).
During his four years as provincial superior he was especially closely following the process of reshaping of the Salesian presences and fostering the preferential option for the poor youth and migrants in Japanese Church, as the Salesian family animator he was involved deeply in the accompaniment of ADMA, of the Salesian Cooperators (EAO Tokyo Congress 2017) and was at the birth of the Don Bosco Past Pupils Federation of Japan (2015) as well fostering the preparation of the incoming EAO Regional Congress in 2020.
Saitama (before 2003 named Urawa) diocese is located close to Tokyo, with about 14 million of population and 120.000+ Catholics (0.8%), majority of them are non Japanese migrants. A total of 58 priests (24 diocesan clergy and 24 religious) and 280 sisters and 37 male religious are ministering in 53 parishes and large variety of Catholic education and social works.
With the appointment of Fr. Mario we are loosing a proactive communicators - he was a prolific correspondent of the Australasia news, always ready to share the events, the dreams or processes going on in his province and since last 2015 also launched so far the unique video message of the provincial in the whole Congregation.
In the name of all EAO Salesians and especially in the name of his colleagues, 11 EAO SDB provincials we congratulate Fr. Mario for his new assignment and pray for the Province of Japan in this special moment of history and for the whole diocesan community of Saitama!