Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Oura Catholic Church

I may have posted a photo of this before, but I found this church again on my walk around Nagasaki the other day. I'd looked forward to going to Mass there, but I don't think they do that any more....

Something that this church makes me think about is how lucky I am to have the freedom to practice my Catholic religion. It's hard to believe that here, right here, in Nagasaki, 26 people were brutally murdered - actually crucified - because of their faith. Catholics had to go underground for a long time, and I think it's amazing that they survived at all. Some were banished to the islands (the very ones I was going to go to last weekend), and I've seen how these Christians cleverly disguised their Catholic symbols in the Shinto and Bhuddist imagery, as a matter of survival. When the Nagasaki Foreign Settlement was established in the mid-1800s, the foreigners brought their faith with them, and though the ban on Christianity still existed, the Japanese government apparently couldn't prevent the newcomers from building churches in the settlement. The road still wasn't easy for Japanese Christians (their religion being outlawed and all!) - but it seems like this church was a beacon of hope for the people.

It is the oldest wooden church in Japan, and I think it is the only artifact of Western origin that has been designated a Japanese National Treasure.

Link to more information about Oura Catholic Church

Movie of Oura Cathedral

Website for the 26 Martyrs

No comments: