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Japan In The Meantime
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From the beginning of this year, Japan has suffered two losses. On one hand, Fr. Lacarra, who although retired, was continuing as an active member at Kaisei School, has been assigned to the Philippines. On the other hand, Fr. Rivero, again sick, had to return to Spain. He leaves the Yokkaichi Parish. There remain, therefore, only 8 Religious. Nobody has asked to return to the Vasconia Province, taking advantage of the opportunity of changing in the Demarcation Statutes. Five Religious have asked to be incardinated in the General Delegation. The other four, have opted for the formula of adscription for a certain number of years, keeping the belonging to the Province of origin.

 

In Yokkaichi is taken the decision of abandoning the Convent in Oiwake, next to Kaisei School, renting it partially as a Minor Seminary to the Salesians Fathers, in order to go to live in the Parish, Frs. German, Domeño, Iraola and Irurzun. In Tokyo Fr. Perea remains as Superior, serving a nearby Parish, Seijo, together with Fr. Lorenzo and Bro. Cegama. In Tobe remains as a Parish Priest, alone, Fr. Monreal, although juridically belonging to the Tokyo community. For the two communities, a long period of hope starts. At the beginning, it is thought that when the Vicariate is changed into a General Delegation, Fr. General will send some help from other Provinces. Little by little comes the idea that the only help will come from the Philippines. They understand, too, that the money they spared during the years that was not spent in the formation of vocations that did not persevere, now are going to have the occasion of spending it in the Philippine Formation Houses, since very soon they start to have candidates. But it is necessary years before some young Philippines people would start their long Japanese formation.

 

In March 1996 is inaugurated the last work at Kaisei School: a new modern gymnasium, next to the old one, taking advantage of the celebration of 40 years of Piarist presence at school. For the celebration go there the Fr. Provincial from Vasconia Province and Fr. Imanol, General Delegate of Japan-Philippine. Beautiful feast, when it seems that the idea a completely leaving the Kaisei has been already abandoned. In the year 1997, there is another celebration, this time at the Parish; 50 years of its foundation. Fr. Rivero from Spain goes there, too. The next feast, and it will be great, is the celebration of 50 years of Piarist presence in Japan, in the year 2000.

 

The year 1998 is a year of joys and pains. Of joys, because Fr. Andres Domeño who had decided to go back to Vasconia Province when he retired from Kaisei School, at the middle of 1997, decides to come back to Yokkaichi and in January he incorporates again to his community. And pain, because it is for everybody, and especially the community in Yokkaichi, a moment of difficulty when Fr. Iraola dies of a heart attack, after celebrating a wedding. It is the first Piarists that dies in Japan; our first seed buried in that country, without doubt one of the hardest fields where the workers of Calasanz have been sent. One of our brothers waits the resurrection of this life to which he offered all his strength, and this is a motive of happiness as the authenticity of the Mission. But at the same time of pain because of the lost brother, who was carrying out a task very difficult to substitute. At the end is decided that Fr. German would take the task as a Parish Priest, while he tries that the job of Director of the Kaisei School would be assumed by a lay teacher, the following year; and the same the Direction of the Kindergarten at the Yokkaichi Parish. In 1999, actually, Mr. Sakazaki and Mr. Shinoda take the responsibility of both Institutions, Kaisei and Jochien.

 

The year 1998 is also the year of the first General Delegation Chapter. It takes place in Tokyo. In that Chapter take part the six Piarist from Japan and three from Cebu, Frs. Jose P. Burgues, the new General Delegate, Fr. Imanol and Fr. Rafael. It is a chapter to look at the future in serenity and realism, knowing that regarding all of us, there is a strong will of continuing in Japan and even spreading more, when it might be possible, to other Asian countries. But for the moment, during the next years, we have to concentrate in the vocational and formation tasks of the first Philippine Piarist generation that are in our houses in Manila and Cebu City. In the Chapter is taken a decision that concerns directly to the house in Tokyo; we want that in the year 2000, would come the first Philippine Juniors group to prepare themselves here, for the future ministry in Japan.

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