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THE ORDER OF THE PIOUS SCHOOLS THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA

Japan
History
Tobe Parish Church
Yokkaichi Parish Church
Komaba Chapel & Convent
Schools in Japan
Missionaries
Contacts
THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA

THE PIARIST FATHERS IN JAPAN

I.                   Japan...So Far Away (1947-1952)

 

"The General Chapter with a free consent of all the Provinces establishes that our Order offers herself to the Holy See to accept missionary activities Ad Gentes according to the spirit of our Founder"

 

Japan was the first mission place chosen, in view of the fact that after her defeat in the Second World War was opening herself to the western community. The first two missionaries, Fr. Feliciano Perez and Fr. Pedro Luis Perea arrived to Japan on the 3rd day of October 1950. They stayed in Rome for several days and were received and blessed by the Pope Pius XII.

 

In Japan, the Ordinary of Yokohama, Bishop Thomas Wakida, received and encouraged them as missionaries in Japan. The Bishop sent them to Yokosuka, where they started their first studies of the Japanese Language and at the same time learning and experiencing the culture in the new country.

 

For Fr. Perea, it was too hard to endure the hardship of the first winter in Japan. Consequently he became sick, and after half a year of studies in Yokosuka he was sent back to Spain for his health recovery. In the meantime, Fr. Feliciano, through the kind help of the Bishop of Yokohama, found a good chance to start his missionary activities in the Diocese of Yokohama in a new house built by the diocese. It was during the year 1952 that he got a Church, a house and the permission from his province to open the new community with the new missionaries sent from Spain.

 

II.                 Consolidation (1952-1958)

The new missionaries, four priests and a brother arrived to Japan on September 1952. On this same day, the new community was established in the Church of Tobe (Yokohama). The young missionaries started the study of Japanese Language, which lasted for two years. Simultaneously, all of them were able to help in different churches for Sunday masses, since the liturgy was in Latin.

 

Menawhile, Fr. Feliciano was looking for the future of the mission, thinking about how to begin some educational activities. The Lord helped him when the Apostolic Nuncio offered him a school in the Province of Mie, in Yokkaichi City. The school was run by the SVD (Society of the Divine Word) missionaries, in-charge of the Nanzan University in Nagoya. Since the SVD Fathers wanted to concentrate themselves in the Diocese of Nagoya, they decided of passing their Yokkaichi School to other Religious Institutions.

 

On 1955, Fr. Feliciano visited Yokkaichi opening a new religious house with Fr. Rivero and two more priests. The school we received was a private high school with a small number of boys. Since the Catholic Church of Yokkaichi was under the protection of Mary Star of the Sea, our school too was put under the same heavenly Star, Mary. So it was called Stella Maris (Kaisei).

 

III.               Smoothly Growing (1958-1967)

Since the Order took charge of Kaisei School, it started growing smoothly. At the beginning of the school year 1958-1959, there were 450 students. But this number grew higher and higher with the passing years. At the same time, the numbers of religious teachers, as well as the lay teachers,  grew too.

 

Since the number of the religious in Japan was increasing, the mission became a Provincial Delegation, dependent on the Vasconia Province in Spain. This is why a Local Chapter took place in our mission. In 1965, the first general visitation took place. Fr. Laureano Suarez, assistant General, visited our houses in Yokohama and Yokkaichi. During this visitation, a general meeting of all the members of the mission took place in Yokohama. Among the many themes studied, the Novitiate Program, Vocation and Economic status were given priority. In addition to that, after the visitation the mission opened the House of Tokyo with the purpose of vocational activities and formation of new candidates for our Order. The house of Tokyo was opened in 1966.

 

IV.               Maturity Crises (1967-1976)

A new convent close to Kaisei School was blessed in 1968. However, some personal difficulties were appearing with the missionary religious; like crises of health and spiritual maturity together with the activities as missionaries. This took place during the post-second Vatican Council. Kaisei School too experienced troubles in teachers and its disciplinary way of life and studies. But in spite of these insecurities and fears, the number of students was visibly growing. At the beginning of the school year 1972-1973, Kaisei reached the totaled number of 1,000 students. At this time, one more unanticipated event took place in Yokkaichi when the Maryknoll Fathers transferred the Parish Church of Yokkaichi to our Order. It was in 1972. The Parish had 750 Christians and two Kindergartens with a number of around 300 children. On 1956, the Provincial Superior of Vasconia came to Japan for a Provincial Visitation. Fr. Ciaurriz, a man of hope with a missionary heart, with his words and actions encouraged all the members of the mission to continue their activities. It was on this new visitation that a new Church of Tobe in Yokohama was blessed.

 

V.                 Decline with hope (1977-1994)

In spite of the small number of missionaries in Japan, most of them tried to work hoping against hope. This is why their special local chapter studied the themes about life of faith, pastoral work, vocation and permanent formation. The missionaries took with interest to their best in order to improve their situation in all activities, especially the formation house of Tokyo and the pastoral line of our parishes and of the kindergartens. During this period, in 1986 Fr. General visited the mission. His visit was followed by a General Meeting of the members of Japan stressing the necessity of a deeper, religious Calasanzian life and activity. Also the idea of lay people-cooperators was studied. The importance of practical ways to attract some aspirants to the Order was also tackled.

 

Fr. Lecea (present Father General) in 1988 insisted on the importance of community life according to our constitutions. Now the year 1994 was a starting point. Fr. Jose Maria Balcells visited the mission for the second time. He came with a bright and beautiful dream about a new General Delegation of Japan-Philippines. It was formally established on 1996. The General Congregation with this New General Delegation has started its ideal of expanding the order in Asia and for the Asians, with Asian Piarists.

 

nb: To read the complete details of this Piarist History in Japan please link to its History in the navigation bar.

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The Data Provided is based on the book
"ESCOLAPIOS EN JAPON"
50 anos de servicio misionero
 
Written by:
Rev. Fr. Jose Pascual Burgues, Sch.P.
Japan-Philippines Fr. General Delegate
Japan-Philippines Vice-Provincial
 
Translated into English by:
Rev. Fr. Jesus Lacarra, Sch.P.

This is an Unofficial Website of the PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA, Japan-Philippines Vice-Province. The Piarist Fathers in any way is not subject to any liability for whatever account appears on this site.  2004 nelcabz

This is an Unofficial Website of the PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA, Japan-Philippines Vice-Province. The Piarist Fathers in any way is not subject to any liability for whatever account appears on this site.  2004 nelcabz