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Pope Francis welcomes Japanese bishops

Japanese Bishops with Pope Francis in Rome (Photo by Vatican News)

Pope Francis welcomed the Japanese bishops to the Vatican Palace on April 12.

On April 8, the Japanese bishops visited Rome for their regular visit to the Vatican, visiting each ministry and institution of the Holy See and reporting on the current situation of the Catholic Church in Japan. 

Simultaneously, they shared precise details and fostered stronger connections between the church in Japan and the Vatican.

The bishops visited St. Peter, one of the two apostles who supported the early church, dedicated themselves to missionary work, and suffered martyrdom in Rome, during these regular visits, known as ad limina. They also visited St. Paul's grave.

The bishops participating in this regular visit concelebrated a Mass in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican early on the morning of April 12.

Members of the Japanese Catholic community living in Rome also attended the Mass.

After Mass, the bishops said a prayer in front of the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle.

Following the Mass, Pope Francis met with the Japanese bishops at the Vatican Palace.

The Pope warmly welcomed each of the Japanese bishops.

In front of this audience, the Pope spoke in a free atmosphere for about an hour in front of the bishops and gave a blessing.

On the morning of April 13, the Japanese bishops made a pilgrimage to St. Paul's Cathedral (São Paulo Fori le Mura) outside the city walls of Rome and offered Mass there. With this Mass, the bishops' regular visits to the Holy See will almost come to an end.

The following 17 bishops from all 15 dioceses in Japan participated in this regular visit to the Holy See (April 8–13, 2024). 

*The number in parentheses represents the year of bishop ordination.

Cardinal Manyo Maeda, Archbishop of Osaka-Takamatsu Archdiocese (2011)

Archbishop Isao Kikuchi, Archdiocese of Tokyo (2004)

Archbishop Michiaki Nakamura, Archdiocese of Nagasaki (2019)

Bishop Goro Matsuura, Diocese of Nagoya (1993)

Bishop Yoshinao Otsuka, Diocese of Kyoto (1997)

Bishop Masahiro Umemura, Diocese of Yokohama (1999)

Bishop Taiji Katsuya, Diocese of Sapporo (2013)

Bishop Mitsuru Shirahama, Diocese of Hiroshima (2016)

Bishop Wayne Berndt, Diocese of Naha (2018)

Bishop Joseph Abeya, Diocese of Fukuoka (2018)

Bishop Mario Yamanouchi Michiaki, Saitama Diocese (2018)

Bishop Hiroaki Nakano, Kagoshima Diocese (2018)

Bishop Daisuke Narui, Diocese of Niigata (2020)

Bishop Edgar Gactan, Diocese of Sendai (2022)

Bishop Shinzo Moriyama/Oita Diocese (2022)

Bishop Toshihiro Sakai, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Takamatsu, Osaka (2018)

Bishop Andrea Lembo, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Tokyo (2023). – With input from Vatican News 


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