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THE ORDER OF THE PIOUS SCHOOLS THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA

Japan
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Tobe Parish Church
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THE PIARIST FATHERS IN ASIA

A SHORT HISTORY,

A LONG PROJECT

 

To make history is to turn your sight back in order to send it forward, to a future one foresees with love. It is to go up a river to see the origin of the basin it has created and later continue the trip going down, knowing better who one is, where he comes from and what kind of sea one longs for. In summary, to write the own history is an exercise of identity and meaning.

 

A history never is short, since in germ it is completely in the seed or just in the starting out of the marvelous thing of the ear... Fifty years, no more, cover the arch of our history from its birth to the actual situation. And we know already by our own personal histories how much can fill some decades: illusions, projects, that small utopia, the crisis, the disillusions, the un-projects, and especially the act of keeping with patience, and the living hope that is in expectation of any new rebirth.

 

Asia is in the point of a glance and estimation of the Church. Towards Asia go now missionary priorities, being an encounter point with the Gospel of very old cultures, peoples and ways of life. To decentralize the Gospel from the Euro-centered point that prevailed during centuries. To restart the first disagreements, the changing attitudes to become receptive people and in that way be able to make permeable ways, mental and spiritual universes. Still "how much passion remains for the possibility" of walking, living and expressing!

 

The Gospel, - we could say - is still to be discovered in Asia. And thinking that it was born there!

 

If it is small - talking about percentages - the Christian presence in Asia, ours, the Piarist, is almost like a testimony. But also from the brevity of the mustard seed of the Gospel, is foreseen a splendor development. And we are in it and we want to be there.

 

We would like, in these opening lines of this history "The Piarists in Japan", to ask forgiveness, because maybe we were not able to see, some of course, what the missionary purity meant, totally "ad gentes" our presence and our work in Japan.

 

Maybe it was the habitual paradigm of the Third World where our educational work and so many times as an assistance would not allow to see in a clear way our direct sharing to the evangelization, and it did not allow us to see with clarity what meant our work in Japan, with a high living standard, where many valid actions in countries not so much developed, were there obsolete and where the "mission" forced us there to do of ourselves only as evangelizing-missionaries, without any other basis. And to accept the slow rhythm, very slow rhythm of presenting Jesus as an unknown, that had come from other latitudes, to a mental and culture universe where, although they were not excluded, it was just a wave lost in a open sea…

 

It was hard the fight you had to be acknowledged, when the acknowledged  means support, moving of persons in the end. We were lived at the level of Order, in those times, other places of ore urgency and challenge: those of the justice, that is to say, the bread required by the poor, that of the revolutions, of the solidarity, of the adventures of children dreams. There were the excited years of 70/80 and America was the protagonist. Nothing took you to the first level in the stage of our world, let us call it in a wrong way, Catholic. Japan was a black point that ran away of any vision or consideration. The Extreme Orient was then so strange as to forget it without much remorse.

 

It was after reflecting about our own ecclesiastical situation in the West when we realized that, overlooking the cultural context, and - if you want - the history, it is very close, in the fundamental thing, the new evangelization and the evangelization ad gentes. Japan, therefore, had become very close; it did not seem to us so far away, so that we could not understand it any more.

It did not seem to us lost money what the actors of the Japanese Piarist history were reclaiming, asking, and urging. It was, no less no more, an inversion on a long run. Finally, we have understood it.

 

There were mitigating factors, seen and judged in different ways from the West and from the East. It was easier to find out the Indians from Africa and from America than to take an airplane and be, like Xavier, in the Extreme Orient.

 

Regarding me -  the "confiteor " is always a personal prayer - I have to recognize that I have sinned by ignorance, pragmatism, and, doing  a general confession, of omission.

 

Now I seen things with more precision and I give thanks to those who have helped me to see the things with more clarity, to see the meaning in an evangelical purity, and in the end, that is our essential "omission"; and it is a joy to know that there is a full accord among our famous "educating in an evangelical way" and what is said, and underlined in VC 96: The education is an essential element in the Mission (of the Church).                         

 

The strategies used could be discussed. It would be very difficult that at least we have not understood their position and their claims. 

 

I said at the beginning: a short history. I think that this part of Piarist history of fifty years needs an applause and a blessing. It is a history worthy of honor and the glory of a continuation. Blessed be all!

 

However, I added: a long process. The wait will be long, but this is for sure, not only for those who have always believed in what you were doing, and where you were doing it, but also for the seed that is growing and that one day - we hope it, we believe it - the witness of the hands will take you and you will be a numerous family with a plus of youth that will make you sing, if your hour arrived, the "Nunc dimitis".

 

To all, the confirmation of our commitments, that happily become dreams. Let us then be worthy of them, as the poet Octavio Paz assured it.

 

Jose Mari Balcells

General Superior

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