Japan is trying to get back on its feet having been brought to its knees by such a violent cataclysm that, at least as the Japanese say, is a once in a thousand year event.
There is an air of sadness around the nation because of the tragedy, for those who have died, those not yet found, people who have lost everything, and there is also fear of the many aftershocks and the as yet unresolved nuclear emergency. But government agencies and associations, private initiatives at various levels, aid groups from around the world and the citizens themselves are making themselves useful in one way or another and sharing the sorrow of the many.
And right amidst this atmosphere of sorrow the Salesian Family has gathered for a day of reflection in the morning and some happy moments in the afternoon.
On the morning of Saturday 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation, Rectors met at the formation house at Chofu. Topics dealt with were: the Province budget for the new year, which begins in April in Japan. Reflection on the Rector major’s recommendations following the canonical visitation. An overview of the three year preparation for the 200th anniversary of Don Bosco’s birth. There was also confirmation of various dates for the Province in the coming year and a report on the Team Visit.
In the afternoon, during a solemn and well-prepared Mass, priestly candidate Brother Okamoto Francesco Daijiro made his perpetual profession and the two novices, Takeshita Giuseppe Naokatsu and Yakushiji Gabriele Daisuke made their first profession.
The Provincial, Fr Aldo Cipriani, presided and in his homily, emphasised the Archangel’s words to the Virgin Mary: “The Lord is with you” suggesting they could be applied to the newly professed who have publicly given their “fiat”. At the end of the ceremony the three professed expressed their thanks with well-considered and moving words.
Two hundred people, friends, parents, members of the Salesian Family, were there for the ceremony which, given the circumstances, was not followed by the traditional fraternal agape.
There are not so many vocations in Japan since Christians, including many migrants, make up but 1% of the population.
But taking the place of the two newly professed another two novices, who have all the best of intentions, have begun their journey. Deo gratias.