Catholics in Japan: Day 2

Yesterday the holiday club focused on the theme of Japanese customs and festivals. We learnt about the Setsubun festival at which people dress up in masks and shout ‘bad luck out and good fortune in’. The children threw bean bags into the mouths of these sinister looking Setsubun characters. The children then decorated their own monster masks.

After the sinister masks were complete we needed something a little more serene. And so attention turned to Japanese lanterns. These turned out really well and the children worked very hard making them look beautiful. They look especially good with a candle inside at night.

It was then time to head into church for a devotional talk on the life of St. Magdelene of Nagasaki. This devout Japanese lady lost her parents to martyrdom in the 17th Century and went to work as a catechist and translator for the Augustinians. Sadly she then lost both her mentors to martyrdom at the hands of the oppressive Japanese regime of that time. Eventually, wanting to hide her faith no longer, she dressed up in her lay habit and handed herself into the authorities explaining she was proud to be guilty of being a Christian. She was tortured for several weeks and eventually suffocated by being hung upside down in offal. Another reminder to us of the price some people have paid for freedom to believe.

There was then time for lunch and finishing off activities. The katanas were bound in brightly coloured tape and the boys rather enjoyed waving them dangerously in one another’s faces.

We ended with games in the paddock. My favourite was “Ahiru, Ahiru, Gacho!’ more commonly known as ‘duck, duck, goose!’ The children learnt the Japanese translation very quickly and giggled as they played. The sound of children’s laughter is one of the finest sounds in life. One day to go…

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