Jude Peirisulle OMI – Japan is one of many countries affected by COVID -19. The first major cluster of the virus was discovered on the Diamond Princess cruise ship which had arrived in Yokohama in early February. The cruiser was put in quarantine after a man who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to have the virus.
Before the government of Japan took any measures to control this pandemic, the Catholic Church had taken steps to help people during Lent and even after Easter. For more than a month now, the churches have been closed and there is no Sunday liturgy, but many dioceses in Japan have taken measures to use social media to help people participate in the Eucharist from their homes.
In my parish of Toyohashi in Nagoya Diocese, though we are unable to have Sunday Masses, we keep the church open for daily mass which is attended by only a few people. The church is also kept open for anyone to come in and pray, while Catholics may receive communion if necessary.
At present, a nationwide State of Emergency (different type of a lockdown) is in effect. In my city of Toyohashi, only 6 people have been affected by COVID-19. We do not take this State of Emergency for granted, rather our parish cooperates with the decisions of the government and will continue to remain united with the people at this difficult time.