About two-hundred and eighty Brazilians, Filipinos, Peruvians, Japanese and Vietnamese with their families and friends braved the wintry cold Sunday afternoon of February 10, 2019 to celebrate their “much awaited” Joso Church’s 10th Anniversary.
The very memorable occasion was highlighted by a multicultural Eucharistic Celebration presided by their new Bishop, Mario Michiaki Yamanouchi and the Confirmation of twenty‐five Catholics： two Japanese, ten Brazilians and thirteen Filipinos from different parishes of Ibaraki Prefecture. Five priests of various nationalities and a Japanese deacon concelebrated. The prayers and songs were in five languages, warming everyone’s heart.
In his homily Bishop Mario congratulated the Hijas de Jesus and every one for their hard work in keeping God’s Church alive in Joso the past decade despite the many challenges their migrant lives bring. He expressed his great joy to meet a very happy community of varied nationalities. He said that the Church is like a “ship” where everyone, every migrant, could find his “space”. He closed his homily by explaining the meaning of his Coat-of- Arms – UNUM CORPUS IN CHRISTO and gifted each one a postcard copy explaining in detail its meaning. The mass attendees in turn were glad to meet their new “shepherd” after five years of waiting.
“We are grateful to the Brazilians who had the initial inspiration and took initiative to build this Church. They had become our friends through the years. As Filipinos, we feel blessed to have a church near the place where we live and work. As expression of our thanks we offered ourselves to serve Joso Church and it has been ten years now!” said one of the Filipina members of the Service Core Group.
“Thanks God for this opportunity to work together. What a joy!” said a Brazilian. One of the Confirmandees had this to say, “What a blessed celebration! After being confirmed, now I look forward to receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony this year!”
The simple party that followed was likewise a great experience of fraternal communion doubly enriched by delicious native foods prepared by each foreign group.