►DOM JUSTO UKON TAKAYAMA (高山右近, 1552-1615) — Born in Toyono-cho, Osaka, Japan in 1552; baptized at Sawa Castle on June 1, 1563 at age 11; became Daimyo (feudal governor) of Takatsuki, Osaka at age 21; transferred to a larger governorship in Akashi Prefecture in 1585; s stripped of his domain by Chancellor Toyotomi Hideyoshi for refusing to abjure his Catholic faith on July 24, 1587; imparted by Pope Sixtus V with an Apostolic Blessing on April 24, 1590 “to hold on to the Faith”; and spent 27 years in domestic exile in Kanazawa.#
►On Nov. 8, 1614, Ukon was deported to Manila with his family of seven and 350 other Christian refugees and migrants, arriving on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614. Ukon and his family were accommodated at the Jesuit guesthouse “Casa San Miguel” at the PLM/Jesuit Compound in Intramuros, Manila, while the other Japanese expatriates were resettled in the Jesuit “encomienda” in San Miguel, Manila. Forty-four days after arrival, Ukon died of “a tropical ailment” on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 1615.#
►On Oct. 5, 1630, the Manila Archdiocese proposed to the Vatican the beatification of Ukon — the first Manila Catholic to be proposed by the Philippine Church. On Jan 5, 1995, Justo was recognized as a “Servant of God”; on Jan. 21. 2016, Pope Francis issued a Decree of Martyrdom; on Feb. 7, 2017, Ukon was beatified as Japan’s 426th Martyr and the Philippines Church’s THIRD Blessed.#
►The Canonization Cause of Blessed Takayama is promoted by several Catholic movements in several countries, but only the Manila-based “Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama” have been imparted by Pope Francis with his Apostolic Blessing. Invoking Blessed Takayama, we pray fervently to be worthy channels of God’s Grace under the battle standard of Blessed Takayama – praying for ONE validating miracle to cinch Ukon’s Canonization.🙏💖🙏 Amen.#
Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, PhD
Recipient, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Blessing No. 404.467
►Speaking at the last day of the 120th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) held in Manila on Jan. 25-27, 2020, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle — who is set to become Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (or simply, “Propaganda Fide”), commended the “Canonization Cause” of Blessed Takayama — the Philippine Church’s THIRD “Blessed” — the care of the Filipino bishops.
►Blessed Justus Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila; beatified 2017) is “Our Own Saint.” The celebrated Christian “Samurai of Christ” chose exile in Manila rather than abjure his Catholic Faith. But 44 days after his arrival with some 350 Christians deported by the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Japan-born Manila Catholic died of “a tropical ailment.” It was the Manila Archdiocese that proposed Sainthood for Takayama at the Vatican — only 15 years after he died at the PLM/Jesuit Compound in Intramuros, Manila.
Takayama is part of the history of the evangelization of the Philippines – his life, labors and heroic virtues were comprehensively detailed in Colin/Pastrells’ “Labor Evangelica.”
BLESSED JUSTO UKON TAKAYAMA
►BACKGROUND: Don Justus Ukon Takayana has been called by the Jesuit-published “La CiviltàCattolica” as “the Greatest Japanese Missionary of the 16th Century.”
Ukon was born to a Samurai family who converted to Christianity at age 11, and became Daimyo (feudal governor), at age 21, of the strategic castle-town of Takatsuki, converting 18,800 of its 25,000 residents to Catholicism within 11 years. In an era with so few Jesuit priests, he relied on the Holy Rosary to hold his people together — until the next Jesuit could come to celebrate Mass.
Instead of supporting a 20,000-man standing army during The Warring States period (1467 to 1567), he kept a vanguard of only 1,000 samurai, and devoted his resources to building churches, seminaries, and oratorios.
He fought under the banner of the Cross, and openly practiced his Catholic faith. He chose exile to Manila rather than abjure his Catholic religion – so on November 8, 1614, Lord Takayama, his family and 350 other Catholics left for Manila with the Manila Jesuits preparing housing for the exiles in their encomienda at San Miguel. But 44 days after his arrival, Ukon died on Feb. 3, 1615 of a tropical ailment at the Jesuit guesthouse, Casa San Miguel, in Intramuros.
Lord Takayama was given a state funeral and his wake was held in all six churches in Intramuros. The eulogies extolled Ukon as a saint.
►PROPOSED FOR SAINTHOOD: On Oct. 5, 1630, only 15 years after Ukon died, the Manila Archdiocese proposed Takayama’s Cause for Beatification at the Vatican, the first such petition ever presented by the Philippine Church.
►DORMANT CAUSE: This cause was dormant till 1937, when Manila hosted the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress, Feb. 3-7, 1937. With the opening day occurring on the 322nd death anniversary of Takayama, the Japanese delegation introduced a resolution reviving the Cause of Beatification of Takayama. Japanese press reports say this was approved by the Eucharistic Congress.
►TAKAYAMA CAUSE ‘SECONDED’ TO JAPAN: At the sidelines of Vatican II (1962-1965) which was attended by bishops from around the world, the Japanese Bishops visited Manila Cardinal Rufino J. Santos, petitioning that the Takayama Cause be revived. They were surprised when Cardinal Santos readily “seconded” the cause to them. The Japanese Bishops’ Conference (CBCJ) established a Historical Committee which gathered supporting materials and sent the loose-leaf documents to the Jesuit General Postulator. Because some chapters were written in German, Portuguese and Japanese — which are not official Vatican languages — the Takayama papers could not be presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS).
►’ACCIDENTAL’ MANILA RE-INVOLVEMENT — A group of Filipino and Japanese history buffs, wanting to print some literature for Japanese pilgrims visiting the Takayama Memorial (est. 1977) at Plaza Dilao, wanted to ascertain whether Lord Takayama was indeed a Japanese historical figure, or merely a composite of several celebrated Christian samurai. They asked an ex-seminarian, Ernesto A. de Pedro, to take two weeks off to research at the Vatican. The Jesuit General Postulator was glad somebody was interested in Takayama; the papers had been dormant for eleven years. Fr. Paulo Molinari, SJ, said their office was short-handed; there were only two Jesuits in their office … they had to do the xeroxing themselves. In short, they gave the Filipino researcher the entire carton box of materials for translation.
►WHEN THE BOOK-BOUND “POSITIO” –“JustusTakayama Ukon, Servus Dei” (1994, 648p) – was submitted, the Jesuit Postulator General, Fr. Paulo Molinari, acknowledged: “Thanks to your much appreciated collaboration, all the essential materials for this important ‘Cause’ are by now available.”
►‘BLESSED TAKAYAMA OF MANILA’ – When the Vatican Information Service announced on Jan. 21, 2016 that Pope Francis had authorized the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints to publish a Decree of Martyrdom declaring the Servant of God, Justus Ukon Takayama as a “layperson … from Japan [who] died from the hatred of the Faith on Feb. 3, 1615 in Manila,Philippines” — the Japanese Bishops quickly shared the information with Manila and acknowledged the help given by the Philippine Church to this four-centuries old campaign to elevate Takayama to the honors of the altar: “With your help, we have realized our hope. We are deeply thankful for your help.”
But the change of the Cause from “Confessor” to “Martyr” necessitated the writing of a new “Positio” by the new Jesuit General Postulator, Fr. Toni Witwer, SJ – “Positio Super Martyrio … Servi Dei Justi Takayama Ukon” (2015).
►BEATIFICATION IN OSAKA: Ukon Takayama was beatified in Osaka on Feb. 7, 2017. The next day at the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered a homily on the singular importance of this martyr who died in exile in Manila.
►EVERY ‘BLESSED’ NEEDS A SUPPORT GROUP: No Beatus can become a saint without a prayer army keeping his memory alive. So the Takayama movement seeks to spread devotion through programs within their ready means: ● altar-statues, ● prayer-cards, ● seminary vocations, ● symposia, ● networking with Catholic mandated groups, ● focus forums, ● social media outreach, and ● ministry on campus – which are funded by project-specific gifts from devotees and benefactors.
►JAPANESE PILGRIMAGES TO MANILA – Japanese Catholics and Buddhists mount Takayama pilgrimages to mark the December 21 arrival of Takayama, or his February 3 death anniversary. Seven Bishops from Japan’s 16 dioceses have already traced the footsteps of Blessed Takayama — from the PLM University Chapel, Manila Cathedral, Paco Parish Church … to the Jesuit Cemetery at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, the putative resting place for Ukon’s bones. They also include a visit to the Santo Domingo Convent in Quezon City, where Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (tagged as “La Japona”) is enshrined — the same Marian statue that was brought back from Nagasaki by Lord Takayama in his exile boat.
►31 TAKAYAMA STATUES DISTRIBUTED, THUS FAR — Statues of Blessed Takayama have been distributed to 31 basilicas, cathedrals, churches and seminaries in six countries (◘ The Philippines, ◘ Japan, ◘ the United States, ◘ Italy, ◘ England, and ◘ the Vatican).
The Nagasaki Church Trust has invited the Prayer Warriors to send the 31st statue of Blessed Takayama to join the yearly Grand Nagasaki Procession of Martyrs on Feb. 2, 2020 – at which Laoag Bishop Renato P. Mayugba will lead a pilgrim group of 22 parishioners, among them 12 priests.
►BENEDICTION FROM POPE FRANCIS — In the run-up to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Japan, the Prayer Warriors presented to Pope Francis, a printout of the Apostolic Breve sent by Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-1590) to Lord Takayama in 1590 – exhorting the recently-dispossessed Daimyo “to hold fast to your Faith.”
Receiving the archival parchment from Manila, together with a Takayama statue from the “Via Lucis PilgrimageGroup 112011,” Pope Francis was so pleased he imparted his Apostolic Blessing on all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama on July 25, 2019.
THE ‘ARC OF HISTORY’ (1615-2020)
Cardinal Tagle delivered his first homily on the “Servant of God,” Justo Ukon Takayama at the 400th Takayama Anniversary Mass in Kobe, Feb. 3, 2015 – two years before Takayama was beatified. He said that a “bridge of faith and martyrdom” inextricably links Ukon Takayama, Japan’s most illustrious Christian, with San Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637), Filipino protomartyr, who was martyred in Nagasaki in 1637. “Martyrdom is the deepest link between our two churches,” the Manila archbishop said.
On Feb. 7, 2017, Archbishop Tagle was the only Cardinal — (the Church of Japan, at that time, had no Cardinal) — invited to concelebrate Takayama’s Beatification Rites, presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS). In a nod to Takayama’s Philippine connection, the 1,000- member choir sang the Filipino offertory hymn “Salamat sa Iyo” (Tanging Alay) with a full orchestra accompanying the voices.
Since then, Cardinal Tage has spoken about Blessed Takayama as “a singular promoter of God’s Kingdom, and an undaunted witness to the Catholic Faith” — broadcast through “TV Maria” (the national Catholic television channel broadcasting from Manila) and Veritas 846.ph (Radyo ng Simbahan, a faith-based radio station in the Philippines).
Blessed Takayama’s support army — the “Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama” — has brought the Takayama Movement to “far corners.”
►The Lord moves in wondrous ways. As Cardinal Tagle proceeds to Rome to be Cardinal Prefect of the super-dicastery with the task of directing and coordinating the work of evangelization and missionary cooperation all over the world – it is opportune to remember that in some corners of the world, the heroic virtues of Blessed Takayama will resonate – as 💥refugee and migrant, as 💥missionary disciple, and as💥 “an extraordinary witness of the Christian faith in difficult times of opposition and persecution.”
►The Holy Father would not have learned of the mission and commitment of the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama — without the endorsement and support of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, now Cardinal Prefect of “PropagandaFide.”◘
Posted by Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro
Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama
►As lay promoters of the Cause of Canonization of Blessed Justus Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila; beatified 2017), our movement has been blessed by Pope Francis, who has imparted his Apostolic Blessing “to you and all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.” We must remain ardent Missionary Disciples for the New Evangelization — committed to “put Jesus at the heart” of all efforts in New Evangelization. “From both Scripture and Tradition, we can see that the path of the new evangelization has been marked out: we are called to renew the proclamation of Jesus Christ, by virtue of our baptism.”
►Pope Francis expounds:
“By virtue of Baptism we become ‘missionary disciples,’ called to bring the Gospel to the world (cf. Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium,’ n. 120). ‘All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization…. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement’ (ibid.) from everyone, the whole of the People of God, a new kind of personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. The People of God is ‘a disciple People’ — because it receives the faith — and ‘a missionary People’ — because it transmits the faith. And this is what Baptism works in us: it gives us Grace and hands on the faith to us. All of us in the Church are disciples, and this we are forever, our whole lifelong; and we are all missionaries, each in the place the Lord has assigned to him or her. Everyone: the littlest one is also a missionary; and the one who seems to be the greatest is a disciple.
“But one of you might say: ‘Bishops are not disciples, Bishops know everything; the Pope knows everything, he is not a disciple.’
“No, the Bishops and the Pope must also be disciples, because if they are not disciples, they do no good. They cannot be missionaries, they cannot transmit the faith.
“We must all be disciples and missionaries.”
►As the Manila-based Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon Canonization Movement reaching out to the peripheries through Social Media, the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama must not EVER forget that Our Lord Jesus Christ – not any of his saints, martyrs, champions or samurai who are His Witnesses — is “the heart” of all efforts in New Evangelization.#
By Aida M. de Pedro
Auxiliary, Missionary Disciples for the New Evangelization
Pope Francis’ Address to Japan’s Bishops, during his Apostolic Journey to Japan (Nov. 23-26, 2019)
I am very grateful for the gift of visiting Japan and for the welcome you have given me. I especially thank Archbishop Takami for his words on behalf of the entire Catholic community in this country. Here in your presence, in this first official meeting, I want to greet all the members of your communities: laypeople, catechists, priests, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians. I also want to extend my embrace and prayers to all the Japanese people at this time marked by the enthronement of the new Emperor and the beginning of the Reiwa era.
I don’t know if you are aware of this, but ever since I was young I have felt a fondness and affection for these lands. Many years have passed since that missionary impulse, whose realization has been long in coming. Today the Lord gives me the opportunity to come among you as a missionary pilgrim in the footsteps of great witnesses to the faith. Four hundred and seventy years have passed since the arrival of Saint Francis Xavier in Japan, which marked the beginning of the spread of Christianity in this land. In his memory, I want to join you in thanking the Lord for all those who, over the centuries, have dedicated themselves to implanting the Gospel and serving the Japanese people with great tenderness and love. This dedication has given the Japanese Church a unique face. I think of the martyrs 💥Saint Paul MIKI and his companions, and of 💥Blessed Justo Ukon TAKAYAMA, who in the midst of many trials bore witness up to his death. Such self-sacrifice for the sake of keeping the faith alive amid persecution helped the small Christian community to develop, grow strong and bear fruit. We can also think of those “hidden Christians” of the Nagasaki region, who kept the faith for generations, thanks to baptism, prayer, and catechesis. Authentic domestic Churches that shone forth in this land, perhaps without even realizing it, as reflections of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
The path taken by the Lord shows us how his presence “plays out” in the daily life of his faithful people, who seek ways to keep his memory alive. His is a silent presence, a living memory that makes us realize that wherever two or more are gathered in his name, he is there, with the strength and tenderness of his Spirit (cf. Mt 18:20). The DNA of your communities is marked by this witness, an antidote against despair, that points out the path they must follow. You are a living Church that has been preserved by invoking the Lord’s name and contemplating how he guided you through the midst of persecution.
Faithful sowing, the witness of martyrs and patient expectation of the fruits that the Lord gives in his time, have characterized your apostolic approach to Japanese culture. As a result, over the years you have developed a form of ecclesial presence that is for the most part much appreciated by Japanese society, thanks to your many contributions to the common good. This important chapter in the history of your country and of the universal Church has now been recognized with the designation of the churches and villages of Nagasaki and Amakusa as World Cultural Heritage sites. But above all, as living memorials of the soul of your communities, a fruitful hope for every form of evangelization.
The motto of my Apostolic Journey is “Protect All Life”. This could well symbolize our own ministry as bishops. A bishop is called by the Lord from among his people and then given back to them as a pastor called to protect all life. This determines in great measure what our aims and goals should be.
The mission in these lands was marked by a powerful search for inculturation and dialogue, which allowed the formation of new models, independent of those developed in Europe. We know that, from the beginning, literature, theatre, music and various types of instruments were employed, for the most part in the Japanese language. This is a sign of the love that those first missionaries felt for these lands. Protecting all life means, first of all, having a contemplative gaze capable of loving the life of the entire people entrusted to you, and recognizing it, above all, as the Lord’s gift. “Only that which is loved can be saved. Only that which is embraced can be transformed” (Address at the Vigil with Young People, Panama, 26 January 2019). An incarnational principle that can help us view each life as a gratuitous gift, apart from other valid yet secondary considerations. Protecting all life and proclaiming the Gospel are not separate or opposed; rather each appeals to, and requires, the other. Both entail being careful and vigilant about anything that could hinder, in these lands, the integral development of the people entrusted to the light of the Gospel of Jesus.
We know that the Church in Japan is small and Catholics are in a minority, but this must not diminish your commitment to evangelization. In your particular situation, the strongest and clearest word you can speak is that of a humble, daily witness and openness to dialogue with other religious traditions. The hospitality and care you show to the many foreign workers who represent more than half of Japan’s Catholics, not only serve as a witness to the Gospel within Japanese society but also attest to the universality of the Church. This demonstrates that our union with Christ is stronger than any other bond or badge of identity, and can enter into and become part of every situation.
A Church of witness can speak with greater freedom, especially when addressing pressing issues of peace and justice in our world. I will soon visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where I will offer prayers for the victims of the catastrophic bombing of these two cities, and echo your own prophetic calls for nuclear disarmament. I wish to meet those who still bear the wounds of this tragic episode in human history, as well as the victims of the triple disaster. Their continued sufferings are an eloquent reminder of our human and Christian duty to assist those who are troubled in body and spirit and to offer to all the Gospel message of hope, healing, and reconciliation. Evil has no preferences; it does not care about people’s background or identity. It simply bursts in with its destructive force, as was the case recently with the devastating typhoon that caused so many casualties and material damage. Let us entrust to the Lord’s mercy those who have died, their families and all who have lost their homes and material possessions. May we never be afraid to pursue, here and throughout the world, a mission capable of speaking out and defending all life as a precious gift from the Lord.
For this reason, I encourage your efforts to ensure that the Catholic community in Japan offers a clear witness to the Gospel in the midst of the larger society. The Church’s highly respected educational apostolate represents a great resource for evangelization and engagement with larger intellectual and cultural currents; the quality of its contribution will naturally depend on the fostering of its distinctively Catholic identity and mission.
All of us are aware of the grave problems affecting people in your communities whose lives are marked, for various reasons, by loneliness, despair, and isolation. The increase in the rates of suicide in your cities, as well as bullying (ijime) and various kinds of neediness, are creating new forms of alienation and spiritual disorientation. Since these affect the young in particular, I ask you to pay special attention to them and their needs. Try to create spaces in which the culture of efficiency, performance and success can become open to a culture of generous and selfless love, capable of offering to everyone, and not only to those who have “made it”, the possibility of a happy and successful life. With their zeal, ideas, and energy, young people – when well-formed and accompanied – can be a deep source of hope to their contemporaries and bear vital witness to Christian charity. A creative, inculturated and imaginative quest to live the Gospel message can have a powerful effect on so many lives thirsting for compassion.
I recognize that the harvest is great and the laborers are few, so I encourage you to seek out and develop a mission capable of involving families and of promoting a formation that can reach people where they are, always taking into account the specifics of each situation. The starting point for every apostolate is the concrete place in which people find themselves, with their daily routines and occupations. It is there that we must reach the souls of our cities, workplaces, and universities, in order to accompany the faithful entrusted to us with the Gospel of compassion and mercy.
I thank you once more for the opportunity you have offered me to visit your local Churches and to celebrate together with them. Peter wants to confirm you in faith, but he also comes to walk in, and be renewed by, the footsteps of so many martyrs and witnesses to the faith. Please pray that the Lord may grant me this grace.
I ask the Lord to bless you and, with you, your communities.#
►Connected only through Social Media, there’s no time for nine-day novenas. No single parish church yet dedicated to Blessed Takayama. No place for a common assembly. How do we connect?
For now, there’s only the annual Memorial Mass on February 3 — celebrated in Japan, the Philippines and four other countries.
What is our individual commitment to the Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon Canonization Movement?
⛨ To strengthen among members of the Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon Canonization Movement the practice of Christian life, centered on the Holy Eucharist, in absolute fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff and according to the teachings of the Church, observing as its foundation the principles of charity, following the example of the “Samurai of Christ,” Justus Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila), a singular promoter of God’s Kingdom, and an undaunted witness to the Catholic Faith.
⛨ To sustain and aid the charitable, cultural and social works and institutions of the Catholic Church – wherever we, as Missionary Disciples, are sent.
⛨ To support the preservation and propagation of the Faith in all lands, and promote interest in this work not only among Catholics scattered throughout the world, who are united in charity by the symbol of the Cross, but also among all other Christians.
⛨ To uphold the rights of the Catholic Church everywhere.
Basic Code of Prayer Warriors
⛨ PRAYER — We have only ONE basic prayer: The “Our Father,” prayed as we start the day, after which we pray ONE “Hail Mary” as a paean to Jesus’ mother. Then the Doxology or “Glory Be.” You can pray alone, but if you can manage it, pray with one or two Others. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20).
⛨ OBLIGATION — Remember to do a random act of kindness EVERY DAY to neighbors — and others in need. (Ephesians 4:32, John 13:35, Hebrews 13:16).
⛨ OFFERING — Give of your substance to the Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon Canonization Movement – “quae cuiusque” — each according to his means. (Proverbs 3:9-10; 2 Corinthians 9:7).◘
“Let our prayers be the best expression of our solidarity and fraternal support for them.”
►Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has issued a prayer to be said by the clergy and the faithful at all Sunday Masses.
“His Eminence (Cardinal Tagle) invites us to be aware and discerning of the many disturbing issues in our society today. We are invited to respond in faith and hope through our common prayer,” according to Circular 2019-34 on the Prayer for the Nation signed by Fr. Reginald Malicdem, Chancellor of the Archdiocese.
The prayer, written in English and Tagalog, will be prayed at all Sunday Masses, including the evening masses of Saturday, for the whole month beginning August 4.
The circular dated August 1, is addressed to all clergy and superiors of religious men and women in the archdiocese.#
►The head of the Archdiocese of Manila asked them to pray for the members of the Catholic Church particularly those who are victims of false accusations.“Our dear Archbishop, Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, is asking all of us, priests, religious men and women, and lay faithful in the Archdiocese of Manila, to offer our Masses and prayer for all our bishops and priests, especially those who suffer because of persecutions and false accusations,” the directive said.
“Let our prayers be the best expression of our solidarity and fraternal support for them,” it added.#
►PRAYER FOR THE NATION
>>>Almighty and merciful God
You have brought us together in the name of your Son Jesus.
We beg for your mercy and grace in our time of need.
Open our eyes to see the evil that we have done.
Forgive us for failing to do what is good and just.
Touch our hearts and bring us back to You.
We pray for an end to the violence perpetrated by harsh words, malicious propaganda, deadly weapons, or cold indifference.
May our homes, our nation, and our world become havens of Your peace.
Grant us the grace to see every human being as a child of God, regardless of race, language, or culture, even drug addicts, criminals, and hardened sinners.
Give us the strength to teach our children and youth how to resolve differences non-violently and respectfully.
May elders become models of decent and honorable behavior.
We entrust to your mercy those who hate the Church and spread prejudice against our Catholic faith.
Illumine their minds with the light of your truth.
Touch their hearts with your love.
Inspire those in public office to uphold, preserve, promote, and defend the dignity of every human being and acknowledge you, our God, as the Source and Lord of all life.
Touch the hearts of those who oppress others and those who take the law in their own hands.
Touch the consciences of the perpetrators of heinous crimes, violence, senseless, and indiscriminate killings.
Move them to abandon their pride and their instruments of destruction.
We also remember the police and first responders who risk their lives daily to ensure our safety.
May they also be instruments of fair and just law enforcement that guarantees the dignity of persons and promotes truth, peace, and wellbeing in society.
We lift up to you our bishops, priests, consecrated persons, and lay faithful who suffer from misunderstanding, false accusations, and persecution on account of their faith and their promotion of justice.
Grant them holy joy that will see them through the dark nights of suffering.
Welcome to your eternal feast in heaven the people who died in senseless brutal organized killings, including priests who have lost their lives in the pursuit of truth and justice.
With St. Paul, we say:
“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
Since you, O God, are with us, nothing that has happened, nothing still to come, can rob us of our hope in Christ.
In your enduring love we trust.
You alone can heal our broken hearts.
You alone can wipe away the tears that well up inside us.
You alone can give us peace.
You alone can strengthen us to persevere.
Assure those who are discouraged that with you nothing is impossible.
Filled and invigorated by the Holy Spirit, may our love for one another be deepened.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
►Mary, Mother of Hope, pray for us.
◘ St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
◘ St. John Marie Vianney, pray for us.
◘ San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
◘ San Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.
◘ Blessed José María de Manila, pray for us.
◘ Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, pray for us.#
►“Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, pray for us.” – The “Samurai of Christ,” Justo Ukon Takayama, the Japan-born Manila Catholic who was “martyred” in Manila in 1615, brings up the rear in the litany of Saints invoked — to protect the Philippines.#
►On seven occasions, Pope Francis has shown special regard for Blessed Justus Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila; beatified 2017).#
►#1 – ‘BUILD ON LEGACY OF MARTYRS’ — On March 20, 2015 — Pope Francis, in his message to Japanese Bishops during their “ad Limina” visit to the Vatican, urged them to build on the legacy of their martyrs – numbering 42 Saints and 393 Blessed. Dom Justo Ukon Takayama, a pillar of the early Jesuit missions in Japan was, at this time, a “Servant of God” — the first rung in the ladder to sainthood.#
►#2 — ‘DECREE OF MARTYRDOM’ — On Jan 21, 2016 – Pope Francis issued a “Decree of Martyrdom,” declaring Ukon as a “layperson … from Japan [who] died from the hatred of the Faith on Feb. 3, 1615 in Manila, Philippines” — paving the way for Takayama’s immediate beatification.
►#3 — ‘WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF STRENGTH IN THE FAITH’ — On Feb. 8, 2017 (the day AFTER the beatification rites of Blessed Takayama in Osaka), Pope Francis reflected on Ukon during his weekly General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall: “Rather than compromise, Ukon renounced honors and prosperity and accepted humiliation and exile. He remained faithful to Christ and to the Gospel; for this, he is a wonderful example of strength in the faith and dedication in charity.”#
►#4 — ‘CHOOSING THE PATH OF EXILE’ — On Sept. 14, 2017 – Pope Francis sent a message to Japanese Bishops through Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: “Whenever I think of the Church in Japan, my thoughts return to the witness of the many martyrs who have offered their lives for the faith. They always have a special place in my heart: I think of … Blessed Justus Takayama Ukon, who … preferred poverty and the path of exile rather than recanting the name of Jesus.”#
►#5 — ‘COMMENDING YOU TO BLESSED TAKAYAMA’ — On Dec. 8, 2018, Pope Francis appointed Osaka Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda as his Papal Legate to the 60th Anniversary of the postwar reconstruction of the Manila Cathedral-Basilica: “And indeed desiring for you a heavenly companion in Manila, we … commend you to Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon, who is recently raised to the glory of the altars in Osaka.”#
►#6 — ‘PRAYER WARRIORS OF BLESSED TAKAYAMA’ — On July 25, 2019, Pope Francis imparts his Apostolic Blessing No. 460.258 to the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama. “With the assurance of his prayers, the Holy Father willingly imparts his Apostolic Blessing to you and all the Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord.”#
►#7 — ‘BUILD ON WITNESS OF YOUR MARTYRS’ — At the meeting with Japanese Bishops at the Apostolic Nunciature, Tokyo on Day One of his Apostolic Visit to Japan (Nov. 23-26, 2019), Pope Francis enjoined them to build on the legacy of their martyrs, singling out – among Japan’s 42 Saints and 394 Blesseds – two martyrs: 💥 Saint Paul MIKI and 💥 Blessed Justo Ukon TAKAYAMA (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila), the Japan-born Manila Catholic who was beatified in 2017.]#
Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, PhD
Managing Trustee, Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama
►As of 2019, Japan has 42 Japanese Saints and 394 “Beati” (Blessed). All these Catholics venerated in churches around the world, were group martyrs who — except one — were processed in only four batches:
◘ The 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki (martyred 1597; beatified 1627; canonized 1862). This first group includes St. Pedro Bautista (1542-1597), former Superior of all Franciscans in the Philippines and founder of the Franciscan Monastery at San Francisco del Monte, Manila — before he was sent to Japan in May 1593 as personal envoy of Governor-General Gomez Perez Dasmariñas to Hideyoshi. After his diplomatic chores were done, Bautista was allowed to stay on to establish a Franciscan mission.
◘ 205 Martyrs of Japan (1598-1632) – (beatified 1867). This was the largest group beatification ceremony in church history.
◘ Sixteen Martyrs of Japan (1633-1637) — (beatified, 1981; canonized 1987).
◘ The 188 Japanese Martyrs (1603-1639) — (beatified in Nagasaki in November 2008).
◘ Alone among them, Blessed Takayama was individually promoted and studied at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS). Originally promoted as a Confessor – necessitating a study of his entire life and heroic virtues since his Baptism on June 1, 1563 — he was later promoted as a Martyr – when Pope Francis issued a Decree of Martyrdom on Jan. 21, 2016, recognizing Takayama as “a layperson … from Japan [who] died from the hatred of the Faith on Feb. 3, 1615 in Manila, Philippines.”
Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, described the new Blessed as “an extraordinary witness of the Christian faith in difficult times of opposition and persecution.”
As lay promoters of the Canonization Cause of Blessed Takayama, we implore your parishioners to devote a prayer session to study Takayama’s heroic virtues. Pray for him to intercede with God – in the hope God would favor him with his grace.
Blessed Takayama is just ONE miracle away from Canonization.
Despite the shedding of so much martyrs’ blood, Japan remains 99.3% Shinto-Buddhist today – (only ONE in 330 Japanese is Catholic!) — as Pope Francis will find out there are only 509,000 Japanese Catholics when he visits Japan in mid-November, 2019.
The Philippines – Third Largest Catholic Nation in the World
The Philippines, where over 86 per cent of its 102.25 M population profess to be Catholics, has a total of TWO Filipino Saints, THREE Blessed, SIX Venerables, and SIXTEEN (16) Servants of God — over five centuries of Christianity.
With the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021, focus is intensifying on the many saintly people who have energized the Philippine Church in the past five centuries.#
►The SPPC Pastor, Rev. Fr. Hildebrand Garceau, O.Praem. notes: “Today, we honor Justo Ukon Takayama as recently beatified, a saint who joins the two countries of Japan and the Philippines in a bond of Christian peace.”
Happy feast day!
Welcome to our honored and special guests from the Japanese Catholic community and the Filipino community.
◘ St. Peter’s imprisonment guarded by 16 soldiers, but prayers by the Church brought 1 Angel, who set him free.
◘ St. Paul’s last letter to Timothy,
>>>Now an old man and living in Rome
>>>St. Peter also in Rome
>>>Both caring for the Christian community there, having suffered many times for Christ with imprisonments and beatings.
As St. Peter had professed to Jesus years before “You are the Christ the Son of the living God”, so now after years of preaching, working miracles, baptizing, and caring for the Christian communities, they have been putting into practice the profession of faith.
III. Tradition tells us that there in Rome, about the year 67AD both died as martyrs, witnesses to their faith in the Lord Jesus. St. Peter’s Basilica is built over St. Peter’s tomb. His successor, Pope Francis, lives in a house nearby. St. Paul died just outside the city near the monastery of Tre Fontane.
►We wear red today because both of these Princes of Apostles died as martyrs. The Church has a long tradition of venerating men and women who died for the faith. For 300 years after Jesus’ Resurrection, the Church was persecuted throughout the Mediterranean area, the Roman Empire.
In the following centuries, other persecutions occurred in different countries throughout the world, with many giving their lives in witness to their faith in Christ. England had many martyrs in the 16th century, France in the 18th century, Uganda in the 19th century, Russia, China, Spain and Mexico in the 20th. All gave up their lives rather than give up their faith. As a result, in many cases, the Church began to flourish in these areas after these periods of persecution. This fulfills a famous saying of the Church Father Tertullian, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians.”
St. Francis Xavier, the great Jesuit missionary brought the faith to Japan in the 1550’s and converted many people. However, in later years the local authorities sought to wipe out the Catholic faith by stripping Catholics of their property and making them live in poverty. In 1597, the first Japanese died for the faith. More persecutions followed, but the faith continued to grow in Japan.
Among the early converts to Catholicism in Japan was Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近). He was baptized with the other members of his family in 1563. His family belonged to the nobility, and when he was 21 he was made feudal governor of Takatsuki. He was a great Samurai warrior, an able governor, and a saintly Christian. Like the holy Apostles, Justo proclaimed the faith of Christ, especially among Japanese Buddhists, and he made many converts, including other noble persons. When he went out to battle, he rode under the sign of the Cross.
During his lifetime in Japan, three separate persecutions broke out against Christians. Justo was fortunate to escape with his life and he continued to make converts by his winning personality and fervor for the faith. Pope Sixtus V heard of Justo’s evangelical missionary work and sent him a letter with the Apostolic blessing in 1590.
Finally, in the third persecution, which broke out in 1614, Justo was given the ultimatum: renounce his Catholic faith or be deported. He fled to Manila late that same year and died of his mistreatment early in 1615 in Manila. As Pope Francis described Ukon in the Decree of Martyrdom he issued Jan. 21, 2016: Justo Ukon Takayama was a “layperson … from Japan [who] died from the hatred of the Faith on Feb. 3, 1615 in Manila, Philippines.”
Today, we honor him as recently beatified, a saint who joins the two countries of Japan and the Philippines in a bond of Christian peace.
Let us pray for the continued growth of our Catholic faith both here and among our countrymen of the Far East.#