HOME WHO WE ARE WHAT WE DO OUR CENTERS ENQUIRY CONTACT US
WORLD NEWS
Community support sustains remote island church
Published Date: September 13, 2010

There is a church on the remote island of Rishiri, Hokkaido, 1,070 kilometers north of Tokyo. It has no resident pastor and few parishioners.

Two Catholic women do their best to look after it but what really sustains Rishiri Church is the goodwill of people — mostly non-Christians.

When people see this church for the first time, they would probably be “surprised,” said Kazuko Takemiya, 78, who has lived at the church and taken care of it for many years.

“It looks like a mountain barn.”

However, this has not stopped many people from the area and elsewhere visiting it.

This summer, for instance, children from other Hokkaido parishes came to Rishiri for a week-long stay. Seminarians and priests working in Sapporo diocese have also visited the island to climb its mountain, Rishiri Fuji.

“People in the neighborhood help at the church as if they were family, doing repairs or preparing food for special events,” said Takemiya. “We don’t have any money, but we don’t need to worry.”

She and the church’s assistant caretaker, Kimiko Yoshida, 74, sometimes get together with other ladies in the area to make arts and crafts.

Twice a month, Franciscan Father Masataka Mano, from Wakkanai Church, about 50 kilometers northeast of Rishiri, celebrates Mass here.

Father Tadayoshi Tamura, 96, a Sapporo diocesan priest living in Hakodate, travels 390 kilometers to celebrate Mass at the church each year on the Feast of the Assumption.

At Christmastime, about 60 people come here to celebrate.

Franciscan Father Reigo Takemiya, Wakkanai Church’s pastor and Kazuko’s uncle, set up the church in 1978 as a venue for children’s retreats and faith formation.

The chief monk at a nearby Buddhist temple, Venerable Kyoji Furukawa, also has close connections with the church.

He said he was impressed by Father Takemiya’s passion for the education of young people and visited the church often. Before long, his own daughter became Catholic.

Related reports
Japan’s permanent deacons discuss work challenges
Renewal of vows gives new life to marriages

 

Source: ucanews.com

 
More News
Father Tadayoshi Tamura celebrates the Feast of the Assumption at Rishiri Church
Rishiri Church with Mount Rishiri Fuji in the background
 
HOME | KNOW ABOUT JESUS | STUDY BIBLE | PRAYER REQUEST | PRAYERS | NEWS/ANNOUNCEMENTS | SHARE JESUS!
WHO WE ARE | WHAT WE DO | OUR CENTERS | DOWNLOADS | VIDEO GALLERY | PHOTO GALLERY | ENQUIRY | CONTACT US