Osaka Catholics Not Left Behind Pope’s Visit to Japan

The Catholic faithful of the Archdiocese of Osaka are enthusiastically participating in Pope Francis’ apostolic journey to Japan, according to a local bishop.

By Devin Watkins – Tokyo, Japan

Pope Francis will not be visiting the large port city of Osaka during his 4-day visit to Japan.

But the local faithful will not be excluded from this unique opportunity.

Bishop Paulus Toshihiro Sakai, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Osaka, told Vatican Radio that around 1,000 Catholics – out of the 48,000 registered – attend the Pope’s Mass in Nagasaki or go to Tokyo.

“All Catholics in Osaka are eagerly awaiting the Pope’s visit and want to hear his words in Japan,” Archbishop Sakai said.

Strengthening Faith

The demographic makeup of these Catholics is changing rapidly.

Osaka, like other parts of Japan, has seen a growing influx of migrant workers over the past two decades, many of whom are Catholics.

Bishop Sakai gives the example of foreigners coming from Vietnam.

“Many are young people,” he said, who come “to work in Japan. Their faith is very strong.

He said they faithfully attended Mass every Sunday and “sang very well.”

“I think they are the future of our Church in Japan,” said Bishop Sakai.

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