Showing posts with label Yamate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yamate. Show all posts

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reminiscing: Yamate Catholic Church

I found a few photos I took of the interior of the Yamate Catholic Church the last time I was there in 2008. I had a few photos taken back in the 1990s while I was still a student in Yokohama, Japan. Many were taken with friends from the Sacred Heart Guild and most of these that were printed (We couldn't afford the digital cameras back then.) perished with the flood of Typhoon Ketsana in 2009. Fortunately, I was able to find a few photos here and there with church mates. They helped a lot in my adjustment to life in Japan and many remain good friends despite the distance and limited opportunities for correspondence.

The pulpit is no longer used in regular Masses but in one Christmas Mass, I remember it being used for readings. The stained glass in the photo was a gift from Europe (I think the former Czechoslovakia.) depicting a saint praying to the Child Jesus (Prague?).
Retablo dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, I usually sat in the pews in front of this retablo, which is located on the left side of the main altar (facing the altar). For one, my seat provides easy access to the lectern when I read in Mass.
The interior of Sacred Heart has always evoked calmness for me. I felt at home inside Yamate Catholic Church where I served as a reader during my 3 years in Yokohama and volunteered during some long stays in Japan afterwards. Behind the main altar is a statue depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The choir loft had a pipe organ though at times, church singing was accompanied only by guitar. We had an excellent choir master at the time who was able to integrate people of various nationalities into the choir.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yokohama flashback: Christmas Mass

Better late than never so before January ends and before I forget again, I'm posting about Christmas in Yokohama, Japan. Among the experiences I love reminiscing about and retelling to family and friends were the times I served at Sacred Heart Cathedral (Yamate Catholic Church). The church is a brief climb from Ishikawacho Station of the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line through a residential area in the Naka Ward of the city. It is near the Motomachi shopping street, which is a popular commercial and dining area and particularly for expats in the area.

For two Christmases, I volunteered as a reader during the midnight Mass of Christmas Eve and the English Mass on Christmas Day. December 25 is not a holiday in Japan and so most of my friends at Yamate including fellow members of the Sacred Heart Guild had work. As I was a post-graduate student, my schedule was relatively flexible. In fact, my sensei even told me I could take the day off during Christmas Day. I usually did take half the day off and would be back at the laboratory in the afternoon.

As Christmas Day, if it fell on a weekday, is not an official holiday in Japan most would come to the late night Mass including non-Catholics and non-Christians who celebrated with us. These include Japanese who were married to Catholics (mostly foreigners) who also lined up during Holy Communion when the priest-celebrant would also give God's blessings to non-Christians in the congregation in lieu of the Host.

I fondly remember the Midnight Mass of December 24, 1998 (my third and last Christmas in Yokohama) when it was the Bishop of Yokohama who concelebrated the Mass and I was all dressed up to deliver the First Reading (in English) on the special occasion when both Japanese and expats celebrated in a Mass where the choir was from the Protestant Church in the same neighborhood (Yamate's choir in turn sang at the Protestant Service over at Ferris.). Afterwards, there was no noche buena and we had to commute to our homes on the last trains. The following day was easier because the English Mass was from 10:00AM (just like the Sunday schedule) and there were fewer people in church. Fr. Alfred Burke, OSA celebrated the English Mass on Christmas Day.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sacred Heart

When I was a student in Japan from 1996 - 1999, I was introduced to this beautiful cathedral in Yamate in the Naka District of Yokohama. I don't exactly remember if I wrote about the Yamate Catholic Church, but is also known by its other name - Sacred Heart. I attended Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart and eventually became involved in the parish. I started out by volunteering to read at the Mass. There was a clipboard at the main door of the church and parishioners were encouraged to sign-up to read at Mass. The choices were quite easy as there were only two readings during High Mass. The one assigned to the First Reading, however, had to speak at the start of the Mass by introducing the celebrant priest and also had to read the Responsorial Psalm. The response was usually sung by the choir. The second reader was also assigned to read the Prayers of the Faithful.

At first, I was very nervous but I tried my best not to show it and I think I did pretty well my first time. This was the start of a long and rewarding experience as an active member of the parish and the Sacred Heart Guild that invited me to help out more in the activities of the church. My work with the Guild deserves its own write-up and I shall do so soon if only to reminisce about the bazaars and picnics we helped organize and hold successfully. Indeed, as people say, those were the days.

When I read at Mass, I always started by first reading the introduction. I had observed that this part was usually omitted by other readers but that the content was valuable in setting the tone for reflecting on a reading. Eventually, other readers adopted what I practiced including my friends at the Guild who were among the first who appreciated what I did. In fact, this was encouraged by the parish priest at the time, Fr. Alfred Burke, OSA, who was always there to guide us. I always have fond memories of Sacred Heart in Yamate and have always returned to hear Mass there whenever I could like when I was in Japan for stints at Saitama University when I was visiting researcher under the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

It is a pleasant coincidence that as we settle at our second home in Singapore, we found and have started attending Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Singapore. It is an old church and the congregation seems warm. There are also similarities with Yamate since many or most in attendance for the English Masses are Filipinos. I shall write in detail about my experiences in Yamate as it is the people and not the structure which compose a church. And there are just so many stories told and that need to be related again about life in Japan back in the 90's that still seem to be so relevant today even in another setting.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Quick review

Whew! It's been quite a while since the last blog...actually, almost 3 months since I started this revival of what used to be my home on the net. I used to have the original Regin's Realm in Geocities but it somehow disappeared along with all the valuable material I had gathered during my 3-year stay in Japan.

Among others are memories of a wonderful and prayerful stint at the Sacred Heart Cathedral also known as Yamate Catholic Church. Katorikku Yamate Kyokai was a home away from home and its very warm community will always have a place in my heart as I reminisce services, stories, lunches, bazaars...and friendships. The parish priest at the time was Fr. Alfred Burke, who was a reassuring presence for ones like me who yearned for a figure who would stymie the onset of depression, of sadness while in a foreign land.

I have always made it a point to visit Yamate whenever I was in Japan and I've always marveled at how the community has continuously grown since I returned home in 1999. It is only fitting that I start, or shall I say re-start, Regin's Realm with thoughts on Yamate.