#LittlePilgrimage 30. Our Lady of Victory Cathedral Daimyo-machi, Fukuoka, Japan

25 June 2017. It was cloudy in Fukuoka, Japan. Me and my friend were on our holiday in Kyushu island, Japan.

Weekly Mass for me is a habit, something I do regularly. But attending Mass during holiday has became one of my favorite activity! It started since I accidentally attended a local Mass in Hong Kong. Since then, I tried to always visit the church during the holiday. But attend the Mass is not always easy to do, especially if I traveled with a non-Catholic friend.

But here I was in Japan, and my Catholic friend agreed to join me for a Mass.

#LittlePilgrimage 30. Our Lady of Victory Cathedral Daimyo-machi, Fukuoka, Japan, 〒810-0041 Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka, Chuo Ward, Daimyo, 2 Chome-7-7.

In 1896, a small wooden chapel was built on the site where the present church is located. In 1938, the number of faithful from Fukuoka rose sharply, and then there was the need to expand the chapel premises. The church was rebuilt and reinforced with red brick.

In 1984 he began a new restructuring of the cathedral. In 1986 the church was demolished and a modern concrete church was built in its place. The old church only remained the main altar.

The church follows the Roman or Latin rite and is the main church of the Catholic diocese of Fukuoka (Dioecesis Fukuokaensis; カトリック福岡教区) which was created in 1927 with the Papal brief Catholicae Fidei under the pontificate of Pope Pius XI.Read More »

#MiniBulletin : Pope Francis’s Easter Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the City and the World)

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter!”

“The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: ‘Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay’ (Mt 28:5-6).”

“This is the culmination of the Gospel, it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew…” [click link below for full text and link to video]

— taken from http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20140420_urbi-et-orbi-pasqua.html

#MiniBulletin : ‘Kiss the crucifix,’ advises Pope, as he reflects on Christ’s humiliation

Pope Francis devoted his Wednesday general audience to Christ’s humiliation, beginning with his betrayal by Judas for 30 pieces of silver.

In the Passion of Christ, we see “the divine response to the mystery of evil, of pain, of death,” said Pope Francis. “Many times we feel horror at the evil and pain around us and we wonder, ‘Why does God permit it?’”

“Jesus takes all this evil, all this suffering upon himself,” the Pope continued. “This week it will be good for all of us to look at the crucifix, kissing the wounds of Jesus.”

The Pope added that we expect God in his omnipotence to bring about a “divine triumphant victory.” Instead, the Son of God is crucified. “Even if I was the only person in the world, he would have done it. He did it for me. Kiss the crucifix and say: for me, thank you, Jesus, for me.”

“When all seems lost,” Pope Francis continued, “it is then that God intervenes with the power of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus is not the happy ending of a beautiful fairy tale, it is not the happy end of a film; but it is the intervention of God the Father.”

In our own moments of “total humiliation,” we should express confident hope in God. “This week we will do well to take the crucifix in hand and kiss it” repeatedly, the Pope concluded.

— taken from http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/04/16/pope_francis:_promulgation_of_decrees/en1-791243

The Holy Saturday

holy-saturdayHoly Saturday (Latin: Sabbatum Sanctum) i.e. the Saturday of Holy Week, also known as the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday, or Easter Eve, and called “Joyous Saturday” or “the Saturday of Light” among the Copts, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus Christ’s body lay in the tomb. Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) is sacred as the day of the Lord’s rest; it has been called the “Second Sabbath” after creation. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function. Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. After the great battle He is resting in peace, but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering…The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible….Jesus’ enemies are still furious, attempting to obliterate the very memory of the Lord by lies and slander. Mary and the disciples are grief-stricken, while the Church must mournfully admit that too many of her children return home from Calvary cold and hard of heart. When Mother Church reflects upon all of this, it seems as if the wounds of her dearly Beloved were again beginning to bleed. According to tradition, the entire body of the Church is represented in Mary: she is the “credentium collectio universa” (Congregation for Divine Worship, Lettera circolare sulla preparazione e celebrazione delle feste pasquali, 73). Thus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she waits near the Lord’s tomb, as she is represented in Christian tradition, is an icon of the Virgin Church keeping vigil at the tomb of her Spouse while awaiting the celebration of his resurrection. The pious exercise of the Ora di Maria is inspired by this intuition of the relationship between the Virgin Mary and the Church: while the body of her Son lays in the tomb and his soul has descended to the dead to announce liberation from the shadow of darkness to his ancestors, the Blessed Virgin Mary, foreshadowing and representing the Church, awaits, in faith, the victorious triumph of her Son over death. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy.

The Good Friday

blackfridayGood Friday (also called “Great Friday” or “Holy Friday”) is the most somber day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the penitential seasons begun on Septuagesima Sunday and becoming more intense throughout Lent. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.

Christians observe Good Friday every year to celebrate Jesus’ crucifixion, death and suffering. The day is observed 3 days before Easter Sunday. Good Friday and the Easter date solely depend on the ecclesiastical estimation of the March equinox.

According to the Christian faith, Good Friday is not a festive day but a sad day to mourn the death of Jesus Christ. The word ‘Good Friday’ is believed to have originated from the Gallican church in Gaul (modern day Germany and France). The church named this day ‘Gute Fretage’ which basically means Holy or Good Friday. Some Christians believe that it was originally known as God Friday before the word God was dropped and replaced with good. They believe that this change happened because the word God was very holy for commoners to utter. In some nations, Good Friday is also known as Great Friday, Long Friday, Holy Friday, Silent Friday and Black Friday.

Adherents of the Christian faith believe that the day is rightfully called Good Friday since on this day Jesus Christ died and arose to heaven to cleanse the sins of the people. Easter is then celebrated to mark the day Jesus arose from death.

In the first century, Friday was considered a special and important day for fasting and praying, although this had no connection to the crucifixion of Jesus. However, in the fourth century, the church started celebrating the Friday before Easter as a special day when Jesus was crucified. The Greek Church was the first church to name it the Great Friday before the name was changed to Good Friday in the 6th or 7th century.

Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between 9 and noon), and almost the sixth hour. He died at the ninth hour:

Mark 15:25, 33 
And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him… And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.

Because Jesus was on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00 PM, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called “Tre Ore” or “Three Hours’ Agony” might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion — reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook, turn off televisions and radios, quiet your environment and yourself, and meditate on what Christ has done for you. At 3:00, “The Hour” He died, the atmosphere should be as if you are standing next to the deathbed of your father who died a moment ago.

Catholics also focus their attention on Mary this day and tomorrow (Holy Saturday), empathizing with the pain she endured as Our Lady of Sorrows. In another break in the tradition of veiling statues since Passion Sunday, they might dress the image of Our Lady in a black dress or veil, placing flowers of mourning before it in her honor.

The Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels, it is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.

Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:31-35)

On this day around the world Christians remember that tense, sensitive time Jesus spent with his disciples in the upper room and the last supper he shared with them. Many refer to this day as “Maundy Thursday.”

The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for commandment (mandatum), which Jesus talked about when he told his disciples that he was leaving them “a new commandment,” that they “love one another.” There were probably so many things going on in the disciples’ minds in that upper room where they had their last supper together, including fear and bewilderment from Jesus telling them that someone in that very room would betray him.

Jesus handed the betrayer a piece of bread, just as he had been feeding all his disciples all along. Always giving, always gracing. Jesus fed thousands of people with fish and loaves, and every word that came out of his mouth was spiritual food for those who listened and understood. But on this night he fed them differently. Passing the bread, and then the wine, he spoke ominous, comforting words: “this is my body… this is my blood.” This was not an ordinary supper, not even an ordinary Passover. His words connected with what he had said on the shores of far-away Galilee “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…. whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:35, 54).

Jesus told them to repeat this unique meal in the future, and then it was time to go out into the chilly night. In a quiet garden among olive trees, quiet but for the deep night sounds of dogs barking in the distance, Jesus prayed. In agony he prayed. The specter of shameful execution and of bearing the curse of sin tore into the human consciousness of Jesus. And in the end it was sheer obedience to the divine plan that carried Jesus into the hands of the conspirators waiting for him.

maundythursday

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem

Jesus to JerusalemIt was a springtime Sunday in about the year 30 A.D. The holy city of Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims who had come for the annual Passover celebration.

Jesus had spent many months traveling through the towns and villages of Palestine. He preached about the kingdom of God and healed the sick wherever He went. Now the time had come for Him to claim His title as the Messiah – the Savior that God had promised to the Jewish people.

Jesus knew His mission was almost finished. As they traveled to Jerusalem, Jesus warned His disciples that He would soon be put to death, and after three days He would rise again.

As they came near Jerusalem, Jesus told two of His disciples to go into a nearby village and bring a donkey that would be waiting there. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey. Crowds of people spread their coats on the ground in front of Him. Some waved branches of palm trees, a sign of victory. The people shouted,

Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord –
the King of Israel!

Only a king would be greeted this way (2 Kings 9:13), and the people wanted Jesus to be their king.

Most of the people did not understand what kind of king Jesus would be. They expected their Messiah to be a great political and military leader who would free them from the tyranny of the Roman Empire. But the kingdom of God is not of this world. It is a spiritual kingdom that is now growing in the hearts of people who put their faith and trust in God.

The Meaning of Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar after Christmas and Easter. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and marks the beginning of Holy Week, the week of events leading up to Jesus’ death.

 

THE HISTORY OF PALM SUNDAY

The celebration of Palm Sunday originated in the Jerusalem Church, around the late fourth century. The early Palm Sunday ceremony consisted of prayers, hymns, and sermons recited by the clergy while the people walked to various holy sites throughout the city. At the final site, the place where Christ ascended into heaven, the clergy would read from the gospels concerning the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. In the early evening they would return to the city reciting: “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” The children would carry palm and olive branches as the people returned through the city back to the church, where they would hold evening services.

By the fifth century, the Palm Sunday celebration had spread as far as Constantinople. Changes made in the sixth and seventh centuries resulted in two new Palm Sunday traditions – the ritual blessing of the palms, and a morning procession instead of an evening one. Adopted by the Western Church in the eighth century, the celebration received the name “Dominica in Palmis,” or “Palm Sunday”.

THE MEANING OF PALM SUNDAY

Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street and shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” to honor him as their long-awaited Messiah and King.

The significance of Jesus riding a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). In biblical times, the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.

 

PALM SUNDAY IN MODERN TIMES

Today, Palm Sunday traditions are much the same as they have been since the tenth century. The ceremony begins with the blessing of the palms. The procession follows, then Mass is celebrated, wherein the Passion and the Benediction are sung. Afterwards, many people take the palms home and place them in houses, barns, and fields.

In some countries, palms are placed on the graves of the departed. In colder northern climates, where palm trees are not found, branches of yew, willow, and sallow trees are used. The palms blessed in the ceremony are burned at the end of the day. The ashes are then preserved for next year’s Ash Wednesday celebration.

In the simplest of terms, Palm Sunday is an occasion for reflecting on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection

donkey and palm