CV NEWS FEED // A Catholic church in Japan recently opened a support center for victims of a devastating earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula on January 1.
According to AsiaNews, the earthquake killed 232 people and left massive amounts of destruction. Though the Catholic Church in Japan is very small, two parishes suffered many damages. In the town of Wajima, the church was heavily damaged and needs rebuilding.
In a nearby town, Nanao, the local church was not seriously damaged, but parishioners in the surrounding area were affected. To support one another and other victims of the earthquake, parishioners began converting the church’s kindergarten into a support base.
AsiaNews reported that the damage has shut off the area’s water supply for two or three months. While the kindergarten is still in operation as a school, teachers and workers at the support center haul water from nearby wells and are currently working on procuring tanks of water from other locations.
According to local parish priest Fr. Yoshihiro Kataoka, the parishioners are also setting up a station in the parking lot for hot meals and a place for locals to find community and support.
“We will open it every weekend as a place to encourage interaction,” he told AsiaNews. “We hope that it will draw not only people involved with the kindergarten, but also all those in the local community who need a break to meet again.”
Local bishop Goro Matsuura said that the diocese has already received many donations from Catholics in other regions. The donations are being used to provide meals, water, and hygiene for local families and earthquake victims.
Despite an impressive story of martyrdom and cultural impact via education institutions, only 0.34% of Japanese are Catholic. The Catholic church is organized in 15 dioceses.