Osaka - Natural disasters "help
people feel closer, to create closer ties. I think that God wants to restore a
sense of complete union among humanity, the unity that we are losing because of
an increasingly competitive global society. Thanks for coming here to witness to
this unity", said the auxiliary bishop of Osaka,
Goro Matsuura, to a group of young South Korean guests of his diocese. The
disasters to which the bishop's refers are the Kobe earthquake of 1995 and the earthquake
and tsunami of last year.
The initiative is part of the 18th Korean-Japanese Youth Exchange Meeting, an experience that the two Churches are trying to strengthen year after year. The theme for 2012 is in fact "Kizuna," which in Japanese means "bond of solidarity." Accompanied by Fr. Damian Park Myoung-gee, secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, and Fr. Peter Kim Seok-ju, in charge of youth ministry in the Diocese of Cheju, Korea 20 young people spent a week in Japan.
Greeted by a party in the parish of Umeda, the participants were hosted by Japanese Catholic families, who are committed to helping them experience the most significant local realities: excursions, meetings, but also Eucharistic celebrations and religious visits. In particular, the group visited the parish of Takatori in Nara, known for its commitment to the survivors after the Kobe earthquake ("the Great Hanshin").
On the final day, the auxiliary bishop of Osaka met the guests and gave a speech: "From Kobe earthquake, tsunami in Sri Lanka to Tohoku earthquake and tsunami last year, people in the midst of great natural disasters could have known much stronger bond and solidarity one another. "