Nagasaki, Japan - A Youthful Welcome For the Pope

Whenever Pope Francis plans a trip to the Far East, the host country makes every effort to accommodate as many university and high school students as possible from other countries who wish to accompany the successor of Peter. In Japan, two university residences –Seido Cultural Center in Ashiya and Yoshida Student Center in Kyoto – organized an activity in Nagasaki to coincide with the Pope’s stay.

As the dates for the trip approached, groups from Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan expressed interest in taking part in the events. The first attendance forecasts were exceeded time and time again. On Saturday, November 22, a welcome party for all the groups was held at the Seido Mikawadai School, a corporate work of Opus Dei. Students from the above-mentioned countries were joined by a large group from Shanghai, and some representatives from Macau. To help the participants prepare well for the meeting with the Pope, two meditations before the Blessed Sacrament were offered, one in Japanese and the other in English. This was followed by a traditional Japanese dinner, during which the different groups were able to get to know each other and share experiences. After dinner, an international festival was held, with performances by people from a great variety of cultures.

The next day, all the groups went to the city’s baseball stadium, where the Mass was to be celebrated by the Pope. The Mass and the singing were endowed with a special beauty, which drew the attention of those present, many of them non-Catholics. One of the young men who came from Ashiya said: “I was moved to see at the beginning of the Mass everyone praying together, acknowledging their faults and sins, and asking for the prayers of the others. If everyone did this, the world would be a much better place.”

Romana, n. 69, July-December 2019, p. 281.

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