By Cl. Kenji Lorenzo Ruiz Hasegawa, SDB
Chofu, Tokyo, Japan, 25 October 2022 -- The Province of St. Francis Xavier, Japan (GIA) was blessed to have in its midst the presence of Fr Joseph Nguyen Thin Phuoc, SDB, the EAO Regional Councillor who visited the country from October 15 to 24, 2022 with the aim of getting to know the confreres and reflect on the realities being confronted by the province. During his 10 days animation tour he was able to met the confreres in Hamamatsu, Osaka and Tokyo metropolitan area.
These days of sharing and camaraderie was even more ratified with the event of the Provincial Community Day in Tokyo (Chofu) held on October 22 for the first time after 2 years because of the pandemic. The occasion was also an opportune moment to celebrate the festive commemoration of St. Artemide Zatti’s canonization, which was held last October 9, on top of the celebration for the jubilarians this year and for the past two years. Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Jacob Hideaki Hamaguchi, SDB, the Provincial Superior of the GIA province. Fr. Michael Lap, SDB, the Vicar, pointed out in the homily that certain radicality needs to be embraced in order to live faithfully the professed consecrated life, which St. Artemides Zatti, being a figure of the Good Samaritan, is indeed a figure par excellence. The token of appreciation was handed by Fr. Joseph to all the jubilarians after the final blessing.
The confreres were led to the refectory of the Chofu Community for the celebration. Each of the jubilarians present in the event delivered a message to all the confreres in attendance. An Academy was prepared by the aspirants, post-novices, students of theology, and the brothers. They sang “Make Me a Channel of Peace” and “To the Ends of the Earth” with a hope that each may become an agent of peace as a Salesian consecrated person and may become witness to all. Fr. Loro Piana, SDB, who celebrates his golden jubilee of priestly ordination this year, also performed for the academy, enthralled his audience with his excellent musical skills in playing the piano. To close the program, Fr. Joseph delivered his greetings to the confreres especially to the jubilarians. He highlighted the importance of the milestones of each confrere in encouraging other Salesians to live faithfully the Salesian life. He gave emphasis on the examples of senior Salesians in the province, and of Venerable Vincenzo Cimatti, being an encouragement to all confreres in the province.
In the afternoon, agathering of the members of the Salesian Family on the occasion of the World Mission Sunday and Cimatti Day was held online. The said activity was spearheaded by the Provincial Commission on Communication and confreres from the Chofu Community. The program began with the greetings from the Rector Major via video. The Salesian Sisters (150th Anniversary of Foundation), The Caritas Sisters of Jesus (The Life of Fr. Antonio Cavoli), ADMA and Salesian Cooperators (updates on the recent activities and plans), and the director of the Cimatti Museum, Fr. Giovanni Marsiglio (The Salesian Brothers and Fr. Cimatti), presented the videos online. The program culminated with the talk of Fr. Joseph. In his talk, he expressed the richness of the Salesian trailblaze in Japan since the arrival of the first Salesian missionaries led by Fr. Cimatti and how each of the members of the Salesian Family initiates the Salesian Mission with their respective creative fidelity.
On the last day of Fr. Joseph’s stay in Chofu (October 23, Sunday), he was shown the apostolates of the aspirants and the brothers in the Salesian Parish of Himonya, Tokyo which served as an opportunity to visit the confreres and see the activities done by the community in the parish. In the afternoon, he headed back to Chofu to join the activities of Don Bosco Oratorio being animated by the Vietnamese young people. The young people prepared on this day a great Marian Fest with a solemn procession of the statue of the Blessed Mother, grand celebration of the Holy Mass, and choir fest.
Back to the Salesian Community in Chofu, Fr. Joseph, in his buona notte (goodnight) shared his overwhelming emotions he had experienced throughout his stay in the country. He shared that he hopes to see the province grow more after the trail the pioneers such as Venerable Vincent Cimatti prepared for the Salesians of today living their Salesian Consecration to the full, ever growing.