Monday, March 14, 2011

26 Martyrs

The Mass on Aug. 10 at Nakamachi Catholic Church will commemorate the construction of San Lorenzo Church, built in 1610 and torn down in 1620 after the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1868) banned Christianity. The Japanese and South Koreans in the group said the event will be held in hopes of fostering bilateral relations through religion, in the year that also marks the 100th anniversary of Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula. Mitsuaki Takami, archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nagasaki, who will be celebrating the Mass, said, "I hope the Mass will provide the members with an opportunity to appreciate the devout faith in Christianity those people showed at the time, to reflect on harsh historical relations of the two countries and eventually create a better relationship." The participants got together after Cho Kenji, a 66-year-old Korean-Japanese in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, who is studying the history of San Lorenzo Church, called on Christian groups in Nagasaki to organize the memorial event.
The Mass will also feature Renzo De Luca, a Jesuit priest and director of the Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum in Nagasaki. He will deliver a lecture on San Lorenzo Church and Korean Christians.
According to the Catholic Archdiocese of Nagasaki, San Lorenzo Church was built by Korean prisoners who were taken to Nagasaki and became Christians.
A Jesuit mission was based in Nagasaki at that time and many Japanese Christians also donated construction money for the church.
The church was pulled down after the shogunate banned the religion.
Link (here) to Japan Times

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