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カトリックさいたま教区

教区管理者 APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR



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Message from the Annual Assembly of Pastoral Workers 2015



APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR’S MESSAGE FROM THE ANNUAL ASSEMBLY OF PASTORAL WORKERS 2015


To all the faithful of the Saitama Diocese,

+ May the peace of the Lord be with you all.

From the 22nd of June to the 24th, the Annual Assembly of Pastoral Workers was held where 60 pastoral workers (Bishop, priests, deacons, religious and lay staff) participated. I express my deepest gratitude to all who organized and conducted the assembly.

It was the first time I participated in the event as apostolic administrator of the Diocese. During this event, I listened to the voices of all the pastoral workers; I made an address and presented a talk at both the opening and the closing of the assembly.

Two years have passed since the resignation of Bishop TANI in July before last. Having encountered this unexpected event, the Diocese has undergone a time of trial. During this difficult time, however, the participants of the assembly were able to share frankly their concerns for current problems and thought out some plans to take in the future. This was truly a grace from God. We also spent time discussing issues concerning the ‘Pastoral Center’.

On this occasion, I would like to share with all the faithful of the Diocese in this message, my thoughts after participating in the assembly. Through praying with you all, I would like to continue reviewing the following:

1. Lifelong Faith Formation
We must continue to deepen our faith. All the pastoral workers, not just the laity, need to receive a lifelong faith formation. Only through individual faith formation, can we guide and help the laity in faith education.

Therefore, above all, I encourage you to promote bible studies. Moreover, I would like to promote Catechism. Together with pastoral workers, I would also like to promote studying the new “Guide for Laws and Regulations concerning Pastoral Work (According to the new Code of Canon Law)”(1) and changes in the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal”(2).

I would like to appeal to every one of you to cherish Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; and as Christians, to strive to deepen your own spirituality in daily life.

2. Revision of organizations and the system
During the Assembly, the Diocese’s bloc system and the Chancery Office organization were also discussed. I would like to promote further discussions to see what kind of problems the present system and organization face, and also begin preparing for appropriate changes and reformation. For this reason, I would like to consult the new Conference for Pastoral Evangelization which will start soon, to listen thoroughly to the thoughts of the laity. We will also continue to discuss issues concerning the ‘Pastoral Center’.

3. Growing as a Multinational Church
The distinctive feature of Saitama Diocese is its “multinational” (multicultural and international) nature. There may be many demanding tasks simply because it is a multinational diocese. I wonder how we can best respond to all the demands of the people. Let us cooperate in searching for solutions in prayer and through dialogue. Many remark the urgency of children’s faith formation for this multinational diocese. I would like to establish a concrete plan for this matter.

4. Importance of “Active listening”
During the Assembly, I became more aware of the importance of “active listening”. As brothers and sisters, we need to be trained to prepare ourselves for mutual active listening. When we talk about “active listening”, we should not forget about our ‘prayer’. The most important element is to “listen to Lord Jesus”. This must be done in our daily spiritual life.

Moreover, the need for a consultation counter for those who suffer in the modern day desert is, undoubtedly, an urgent need. I will consider some specific actions the Chancery Office could take to respond to such needs.

I pray for the merciful God’s blessing on you all.



29 June 2015, Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Apostolic administrator for the Catholic Diocese of Saitama
Archbishop Peter OKADA Takeo



Note:
(1) The “Guide for Laws and Regulations concerning Pastoral Work -- for priests” which was issued on the 1st of July 1979 was written as a guidebook for priests in Japan in response to the changes in laws and regulations made after the Vatican Council II. However, since the new Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1983, it was revised to conform to the norm. In 2014, it was finalized and was approved in the Ordinary General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Japan.

(2) This is an instruction booklet on the changes in the new “Institutio generalis Missalis Romani (General Instruction of the Roman Missal)”. The rules published will take effect from 29 November 2015 (the First Sunday of Advent).

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