Japanese Mass

On Sunday this week, J and I went on to hear mass. Normally, when Filipinos in Japan hear mass, they attend the masses offered in English. However, things are different in Kagoshima. It’s either Filipinos attend masses offered in Japanese or they don’t hear mass altogether.

Why you may ask. Well, it is rumored that the only priest in Kagoshima offering masses in English is not a very likable person. I haven’t really seen him yet but this is what I’ve heard.

He requires all his parishioners to come to church in “proper attire”. That would mean you cannot go to church in just plain T-shirt. There are also a lot of rules you should follow when inside the church. Worse, he refuses to offer communion to Filipina entertainers.

I hope I could attend one of his masses one time so I can describe him by how I, myself, see him and not how others see him. I couln’t believe he could be that bad. How bad is he? It is also rumored that there are times when only five or less people hear his masses. Hmmm. Makes me wonder where all the other Filipinos are.

Anyway, back to my story. J and I went to hear Japanese mass in one of the churches near Kagoshima University. You might be surprised if I tell you that I’ve been in Japan for about six months already and this is my first time to attend a mass in Japanese. It’s either I attend masses in English or don’t attend mass at all… mostly the latter.

Here are my observations. Women here still wear bellos, which are long forgotten in the Philippines. They don’t have a choir but they do have a conductor, who conducts in front of the whole crowd. It seems like they don’t need a choir because almost everybody participates in the singing. Surprising, isn’t it?

I guess the Japanese are still Japanese even inside a generally western institution. They are still as disciplined and as obedient as ever. Although I hardly understand a thing during the mass, I know that these people are very serious about what they are doing and I can even say they are more Catholic than most other Catholics I know… myself included.

We even witnessed the baptism of around seven newly “catholicized” adults. This is very rare in the Philippines because most of us are “catholicized” a few days after we are born… seldom when we are already adults and can already think for ourselves. These new Catholics had the choice of what religion they like.

How I wish I also had that choice.

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