Tokyo, the relics of John Paul II and Faustina Kowalska, mercy for all of Japan

The relics were exhibited at the closing ceremony of the Holy Door at St Mary Cathedral. The Mass was attended by the faithful of various nationalities. The bishop blessed children, following the Shinto ritual of Shichi-go-san.

Nov 15, 2016

TOKYO: Sunday, 13 November, in the morning, Mgr Peter Takeo Okada, archbishop of Tokyo, along with the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Joseph Chennath and other priests concelebrated the closing Mass of the Year of Mercy in Tokyo’s St Mary’s Cathedral.

Many Japanese Catholics from the capital as well as immigrants from Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, and Burma as well as a small number of Europeans took part in the important event. A choir marked the solemnity with songs at different moments of the service.

The Mass also included a ritual for children called Shichi-go-san. Originally based in Shinto culture, it involves taking children aged seven, five and three years to the temple to be blessed by the priest. In yesterday's ceremony, the bishop blessed the children.

Usually, the Shichi-go-san festival is celebrated on 15 November, a date deemed lucky in Shinto culture. In Japan, the odd numbers are lucky numbers. Children are brought to the temple because they are protected by Kami (deities). In the case of Christianity, they are blessed by Jesus who blessed the children in the Gospel.

During the Mass, the relics of St John Paul II and St Faustina Kowalska were exhibited. The Polish pope is a figure much admired by the Japanese, who welcomed him with great solemnity in 1981. Kowalska is the initiator of the devotion to the Divine Mercy, whose celebration was introduced in the Catholic Church by John Paul II.

The Jubilee’s closing ceremony had as its intention asking God, through the grace of the two saints, for mercy for the Japanese people as a whole.--Asia News

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