MISSIONARY DISCIPLES FOR THE NEW EVANGELIZATION

►POPE FRANCIS INVITES EACH OF US TO BECOME MISSIONARY DISCIPLES — By virtue of their baptism, all Christians are missionary disciples (cf. Mt. 28:19).

►(By Jem Sullivan |Catholic News Service) — In his apostolic exhortation ♦“The Joy of the Gospel” (“Evangelii Gaudium”), Pope Francis invites all the faithful to be “missionary disciples.”

His call, which has captured the hearts and minds of many, prompts us to ask: “What is a missionary disciple?”

If we take a closer look at Pope Francis’ words, we realize that they are meant not as a general summons, but as a deeply personal invitation to each one of us. We are each called to live out the gift and meaning of our baptism by our participation in the life of the church, and by our words and actions that witness to the transforming power of the Gospel.

Pope Francis offers his personal invitation when he said in that same exhortation:

“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the people of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). … The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized.

“Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.

“Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: We no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples’” (No. 120).

Missionary discipleship begins with, and grows in, friendship with the person of Jesus Christ.

Once we have truly experienced in a personal way the immense love and mercy of God revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, daily life is no longer the same. It is always God’s love and grace that first transforms us into missionary disciples.

With the grace of our baptism, we carry within us that same love of God that radiates to all around us, particularly to the poor and those who exist on the social and moral margins of society.

To become a missionary disciple, then, is to hear the voice of Jesus calling us to live the new life of faith in him.

We receive this new life of faith at baptism, and the whole Christian life is an unfolding of the initial baptismal gift of faith — faith that is believed, celebrated, lived and deepened through prayer. This first encounter with the love of God is that moment of evangelization, when the seed of the Gospel planted in our lives begins to grow and flourish.

Catechesis is the deepening of this baptismal gift of faith through an ongoing journey of coming to know and be formed in faith.

“Living as Missionary Disciples” is the theme of this year’s Catechetical Sunday, to be celebrated on Sept. 17, 2017. On that day, as catechists are commissioned for their ministry, all the faithful are reminded of our common vocation, by virtue of baptism, to know and live the faith and to witness to the Gospel in word and deed.

Jesus’ call to missionary discipleship radically changes our lives.

Like the first disciples of the Lord  — who moved from being fearful and discouraged fishermen into fearless and zealous missionary disciples — we are transformed into messengers of grace and hope.

This transformation takes place here and now, in the context of the everyday. Jesus called his disciples as they went about their daily labors as fishermen and tax collectors. In the same way, he calls us to missionary discipleship in the concrete places and relationships of our daily life.

Having encountered the love of God, we radiate that divine love into the ordinary moments and relationships of our day, to family, co-workers, friends and community.

We are sustained in our mission by reflecting on the word of God, celebrating the sacraments of the church, striving to live the Christian moral life and praying.

For a missionary disciple, the love of God revealed in Jesus is not an abstract idea. God’s relentless love and forgiving mercy, experienced each day in our encounter with God’s word and in the sacraments, inspires and strengthens us to be his missionary disciples in the world.#

December 21 is a Red-Letter Day in Philippine-Japanese History

►It marks the arrival on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614 of the celebrated “Samurai of Christ,” Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近, 1552 Osaka-1615 Manila), former Daimyo of Takatsuki (1573-1585) and Akashi (1585-1587) — with the first boatload of 350 Christian deportees from Tokugawa Japan. Waves of Japanese “Migrants and Refugees” escaping persecution sought refuge in Catholic Manila for the next 262 years.

Fifteen years after Ukon died on Feb. 3, 1615, the Manila Archdiocese proposed to the Vatican that the Japanese-born Manileño be declared as the first Philippine saint.#

►The exodus of Japanese Christians from Japan to Manila was steady across some 262 years – as adherents of the Christian religion were hunted down in the most virulent extirpation of Christianity in world history. Without priests, without Sacraments, Japan’s remaining Christians went underground for centuries – passing on their core beliefs to generations of their descendants. These “Hidden Christians” have evoked the admiration and respect of many Popes – ♦Pope Francis among them. Osaka ♦Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda came from one such family.#

►In 2018, the City of Manila recognized the Japanese-born Manileño, ♦Dom Justo Takayama as the “epitome of the Japanese spirit” and a “Son of Manila” — with the declaration of Dec. 21 every year as ♦“Blessed Takayama Ukon Day.”#   

►The keepers of Blessed Takayama’s memory in 2018 were: ● The Manila Archbishop [then-Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle] who first proposed to the Vatican on Oct. 5, 1630 – sainthood for the noble Christian samurai; ● the Japanese Embassy in Manila; ● City of Manila (which decreed every Dec. 21 as “Blessed Takayama Ukon Day”); ● Department of Tourism/NCR; ● Intramuros Administration and ● Blessed Justo Takayama Ukon Canonization Movement, represented by its corporate arm, ♦Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama.#

Fr. Carlo del Rosario

►In lieu of a candle-lit procession of pilgrims from Intramuros’ Postigo Gate to the Manila Cathedral, a Mass was celebrated by ♦Very Rev. Carlo del Rosario (*in photo), parochial Vicar and Assistant Parish Priest at the ♦San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church aka Paco Church (est. 1580), where Lord Takayama brought his Japanese converts for baptism.#

By Aida M. de Pedro
Auxiliary, Missionary Disciples for the New Evangelization

Basic Reading List on Blessed Takayama

►We receive e-mails requesting for a list of printed literature about Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (山右近, 1552 Osaka-1615 Manila). No books in English have been published in the past 30 year

The Takama website – http://www.TakayamaUkon.com – contains blogs that may fill this need.

§§§ For an introduction, written in the 1950s but still relevant, read Fr. Diego Pacheco, SJ, “Fate of a Christian Daimyo.”
https://takayamaukon.com/fate-of-a-christian-daimyo/

§§§ For a summary of Ukon’s heroic virtues, read Fr. Johannes Laures, SJ, “Takayama Ukon – A Candidate for Sainthood.”
https://takayamaukon.com/takayama-ukon-a-candidate-for-canonization/

§§§ For an overview of Blessed Takayama’s life, written by his Jesuit postulator, Fr. Anton Witwer, SJ, read “Justus Ukon Takayama: the Greatest Japanese Missionary of the 16th Century.”

§§§ For Pope Francis’ view on Blessed Takayama, read “Pope Francis – and 7 Occasions He Extolled the ‘Samurai Christi,’ Justus Ukon Takayama.”

§§§ For Blessed Takayama’s relevance to the Philippine Church, read Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, “Vatican-Bound Cardinal Tagle Commends Blessed Takayama to the Care of Filipino Bishops.”

§§§ For the “accidental” involvement of Filipinos in the promotion of the Cause of Beatification, even after Manila had “seconded” the Cause to the Church of Japan in 1963, read “Journeying with Lord Takayama.”
https://takayamaukon.com/journeying-with-lord-takayama/

§§§ For the search for Takayama’s mortal remains in Manila, read “The Search for the Bones of Takayama Ukon.”
https://takayamaukon.com/the-search-for-the-bones-of-takayama-ukon/

Dr. Ernesto A. De Pedro, PhD
Managing Trustee
Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama
Recipient of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Blessing No. 460.258



In 1937, Manila Hosted the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress – the First Held in Asia

►Held from February 3-7, 1937, the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress attracted Catholic pilgrims from around the world. It marked the first time a Catholic Cardinal set foot on the Philippines – Philadelphia Cardinal Dennis Joseph Cardinal Dougherty (1865-1951), who formerly served as Bishop of Nueva Segovia (1903–1908) and Jaro (1908–1915).

Easily the most colorful delegation was from Japan, attending its first pilgrimage outside Japan since freedom of religion in was guaranteed by the Meiji Constitution (明治憲法) which was proclaimed on Feb. 11, 1889.

The Japanese delegation made a point of wearing regional costumes of various territories in the Empire of Japan: ●Kuril Islands, ●Taiwan (臺灣), ●Karafuto (樺太庁, South Sakhalin), ●Kwantung Leased Territory, ●Korea (朝鮮), ●Shandong, ●South Seas Mandate and ●Manchuria.

Provindentially, the 5-day Congress started on Wednesday, Feb. 3, the 322nd anniversary of the deathday of Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近, 1552 Osaka-1615 Manila) – identified by Fr. Repetti as “Justo Ukón-dono Tacayawa.”

Malate Church, Manila
Japanese delegates to the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress held in Manila Feb. 3-7, 1937 were assigned the Malate Church for the observance of the Holy Hour

Fr. Repetti shares his account of the last day of the Congress:

►On the last morning of the Eucharistic Congress, a little ceremony took place which was interesting but attracted scarcely any notice.

It commenced at the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius (San Ignacio Church-II) in the Walled City [Intramuros] and ended at St. Theresa College on San Marcelino St., Ermita (now the site of Adamson University).

To understand its significance, it is necessary to give the historical background.

It is well known that the Church of Japan suffered one of its fiercest persecutions in the 17th century — a persecution which wiped out all external evidence of the faith. In 1614, a large group of Japanese Catholics chose exile from their native land rather than deny their faith and they found refuge in Manila. Accompanying this band of confessors there were eight Jesuit priests and 15 lay Brothers, four Franciscan friars, and two Dominican friars.

The Governor-General of the Philippines, Don Juan de Silva (in office: April 1609 – April 19, 1616), and the Archbishop of Manila, Don Diego Vázquez de Mercado (r. May 28, 1608 – June 12, 1616), gave the party a royal welcome, and they established their homes in a suburb of Manila known as San Miguel. It was located on the southside of the Pasig river whereas San Miguel of the present time is on the north bank. The Jesuits had a church in San Miguel and ministered to the spiritual needs of the exiles.

By far the most prominent layman among the exiles was Justo Ukon-dono Tacayawa (sic) [Takayama]. He was born in 1552 and was baptized in 1563 by the first Japanese Jesuit. Brother Lorenzo, who had been baptized by St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) and received the name Justo. His father and mother were received into the Church the same year.

He became a military leader and then lord (daimyo) of Takatsuki, and later on, of Akashi. His greatest distinction rests on his strong faith and ardent zeal. He converted all those around him and all those who came into contact with him. Fr. Luis Fróis, SJ (1532 – 1597) said that “among our proselytizers, he had the greatest success in gathering sheep into the Holy Flock.”

Forty-four days after arriving in Manila, he contracted a fever and died on Feb. 3, 1615 at the age of 63. His obsequies took place in the Jesuit Church in Manila (i.e., Santa Ana Church in the present-day PLM /Jesuit Campus) and all possible honor was shown to him on this occasion. He was interred in the place reserved for the Jesuit provincials of the Province of the Philippines. Twenty years later, his bones were placed in an urn and transferred to the Chapel of the St. Ignatius University which adjoined the Jesuit church. In the course of time, the Church, the University, and all Jesuit property disappeared or were scattered. What became of Don Justo’s remains is not known.

Ukon-dono brought his wife Justa and five grandsons into exile, and he was also accompanied by an intimate friend and great Christian, Juan Tocuan Naito (1544-1626). He died in 1626 and was buried with honors in our church in Manila. His sister, Mother Julia Naito, shared her brother’s exile and erected a convent in San Miguel in which she passed a strict religious life as superioress of 13 Japanese women. She died on March 28, 1627.

The Japanese Catholics have always cherished the memory of these sufferers for the faith and have desired to show honor to them. A fitting opportunity of fulfilling their desires seemed to offer itself on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress in Manila. When the Japanese delegation left Nagasaki, Bishop Hayakawa bestowed his blessing and urged them to find the burial place of the famous exiles and mark them to show in an appropriate manner.

Peter Yakichi Kataoka of the Franciscan Seminary in Nagasaki undertook the task of ascertaining the locations of such special interest to the Japanese. He came to the Manila Observatory, and the writer [Fr. W. C. Repetti] was able to give him sufficient information to justify the placing of historical markers.

The site occupied by the Jesuit Church and University in the 17th century is now occupied by the United States Army and the erection of any monument or marker in that place would involve considerable negotiations and would have been immediately impossible in the short time available.

The pilgrims wished to do something in honor of their heroes during their visit to Manila.

Since they wished the commemoration to have some connection with the Society of Jesus, it was suggested that St. Ignatius Church-II, only a short distance from the old site, be selected as the place to do honor to the memory of Ukon-dono. The suggestion was satisfactory to the pilgrims, and Fr. John F. Hurley, the Jesuit superior, readily gave his approval.

On Sunday morning, February 7, a group of about 20 pilgrims gathered in front of the  St. Ignatius Church and grouped themselves around the memorial column where some pictures were taken. Rev. (later Cardinal) Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi, co-leader of the Eucharistic pilgrims, was present, as also was Fr. Washida from Nagasaki. The Japanese Vice-Consul and his wife lent an official tone to the assembly. Fr. Hurley, SJ, Fr. Emmet Creahan, and Fr. W. C. Repetti, SJ, were invited to join the group.

The memorial took the form of a wooden column about six inches square and eight feet long. This was the only thing possible in the short time available. The Japanese inscription was painted on one side and a brief English translation was painted on another side, as follows: “Memorial to Justo Ukon-dono, Catholic Japanese exile. Died Feb. 3, 1615.” The wooden monument is to be attached to the wall of the San Ignacio Church-II and the Japanese hope to raise funds in Japan to substitute a more enduring memorial.

The pilgrims then went to the old site of the Jesuit church and University where Ukon-dono and Naito had been buried. Thence they went to the Franciscan Church and erected another column in the patio of the convent in honor of the Japanese who  found hospitality there in 1620.

From there the pilgrims proceeded to St. Theresa College and erected a column in one of its patios to the memory of Mother Julia Naito and her nuns.

Father Washida remarked: “Now we can go home contented.”

~ Fr. W. C. Repetti, SJ, in “A Tercentennial Commemoration in Manila during the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress,” Feb. 3-7, 1937 | Woodstock Letters, Volume LXVI, No. 2, June 1, 1937

The Imperial Regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Jesuits

►In 1585, the Imperial Regent (Kampaku) Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豐臣 秀吉/豊臣 秀吉, March 17, 1537–Sept. 18, 1598) — who is regarded as the second “Great Unifier” of Japan — dropped by the Jesuit seminary in Osaka, accompanied by a son and a brother of the late Oda Nobunaga, and several other lords, and held a “long and familiar conversation” with Fr. Gregorio de Céspedes, SJ (1551–1611), the Superior.#

“You know,” he told the priest, “that everything in your law [Christian religion] contents me, and I find no other difficulty in it, except its prohibition of having more than one wife. Were it not for that, I would become a Christian at once.”

~ James Murdoch, “A History of Japan,” Vol. 2, p. 214 (New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Co., 1903, 1964).#

Blessed Takayama’s Wide Footprint in Europe

►TO BE CLEAR: The celebrated “Samurai of Christ,” Dom Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近, 1552-Osaka-1615 Manila) — known at the Vatican as “Dom Justo Ucondono” — never set foot on Europe, but he had a wide footprint there – in books and theater plays. Europe, which was the source of all Jesuit missionaries sent to Japan, was fascinated with all things Japanese … and its most illustrious Catholic convert.

►Ever since the Italian merchant Marco Polo (1254-1324) wrote about Japan (which he called “Zipangu”) in his book 📖 “The Travels of Marco Polo” (Venice: c1300), describing his travels through Asia between 1271 and 1295, the Western World has been fascinated with a kingdom no one had yet visited. Marco Polo was the first European to write about Japan but it is unlikely that he visited Japan at all. Most likely his accounts were based on what he heard about Japan in China from sailors involved in the failed Mongol invasions of Japan (元寇, Genkō), which took place in 1274 and 1281, when Kublai Khan of the Yuan dynasty attempted to conquer Japan.  Marco’s account of the Mongol invasion of Japan is very sketchy because he heard of the invasion only from the Mongols.

The first three Europeans to arrive in Japan in 1543 were Portuguese traders who landed by accident at the southern tip of Tanegashima, where they would introduce the arquebus firearm to the local population, who eventually reconfigured it into the Tanegashima (種子島), a matchlock gun that changed warfare in the Japanese archipelago. Within ten years of its introduction upwards of 300,000 tanegashima were reported to have been manufactured. The tanegashima eventually became one of the most important weapons in Japan.

►With Dom Justo Ukon Takayama considered by the Jesuits as the greatest Japanese missionary of the sixteenth century, the Jesuits who were all Europeans brought the fame and heroic virtues of Lord Takayama throughout Europe: 🔸Italy, 🔸Spain, 🔸England, 🔸France, 🔸Germany, 🔸Austria, 🔸Switzerland, and 🔸Belgium. It is odd that there is no imprint from Portugal where most of the early Jesuit missionaries originated.

1590 — Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585-1590) — Apostolic “Breve” (*photo of present-day print-out) dated April 24, 1590 imparted to Dom Justo Ucondono, when Lord Takayama was stripped of his feudal domain in Akashi Prefecture on June 24, 1587 for refusing to abjure his Christian faith.

1616 – P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖“Relacion de la persecucion que vuo en la yglesia de Iapon: y de los insignes martyres, que gloriosamente dieron su vida en defensa de n[uest]ra Santa Fè, el año de 1614. y 1615.”

1617 – P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “Lettera annua del Giapone del MDCXIV” | al Molto Reuerendo Padre Mvtio Vitelleschi | Generale della Compagnua di GIESv.cion. Scritta del Padre Pietro Morecion della Compagnia di Giesv. (Roma, Per Basttolomeo Zanuzzi, MDCXVII.

1618? — P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “Persecution against the Catholike Christians in the Kingdome of Japonia.”

1619-1621 — P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “A briefe relation of the persecution lately made against the Catholike Christians, in the kingdome of Iaponia: diuided into two bookes. Taken out of the annuall letters of the fathers of the Society of Iesus, and other authenticall informations.” Written in Spanish, and printed first at Mexico in the West Indies, the yeare of Christ M. DC. XVI. and newly translated into English by W.W. [William Wright, SJ].

This was a biography of Takayama Ukon written in Spanish by Ukon’s Spanish father-confessor, Fr. Pedro Morejon, SJ, and first published in Barcelona, then translated into English by Fr. William Wright, SJ. As the Jesuits were banned in England since 1604, this was published by the underground Jesuit press in St. Omer, France. All these — within four years of Takayama’s death in Manila!

1621-2018 – P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “Historia y relación de lo svcedido en los reinos de Iapon y China, en la qual se continua le gran persecución que ha auido en aq̃lla Iglesia, desde el año de 615. hasta el de 19.”

1628-1999 – P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “Triumphos, coronas, tropheos, de la perseguida yglesia de Iapon martyrios esclarecidos de nueue religiosos de la Compañia de Iesus, y de otros de su Familia, de la Relacion que del Collegio de Macan embiò el Padre Pedro Morejon, de la misma Compañia. Estado de la Yglesia dela Gran China. Reduccion de todo el Imperio de Preste Iuan de las Indias al Iglesia Romana. Successos varios en descubrimientos de Reynos no conocidos.”

1631-1632 – P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “Lettere annue del Giappone degl’anni MDCXXV. MDCXXVI. MDCXXVII. : al Molto Reu. in Christo P. Mutio Vitelleschi preposito generale della Compagnia di Giesu.”

1631 – P. Pedro Morejon, SJ, 📖 “Relacion de los martyres del Iapon del año de 1627.”

1646 — P. Antonio Francisco Cardim, SJ (1596-1659) – 📖 “Fasciculus e Japonicis Floribus, suo adhuc madentibus Sanguine” (Japanese Flowers Still Dripping with Blood). Rome, 1646

1663 — Colin/Pastells, 📖 “Labor Evangelica, ministerios apostolicos de los obreros de la Compañia de Iesvs, fvndacion, y progressos de su provincia en las islas Filipinas” by Colín, Francisco (1592-1660; first published 1663); and copiously annotated by Fr. Pablo Pastells, SJ (1846-1932), eds. Barcelona: 1900.

1663-1742 – USE OF JESUIT THEATER PLAYS TO PROMOTE TAKAYAMA — By 1600, the Jesuits had over 200 schools, universities, and seminaries, most if not all of which offered some kind of public performance as part of the educational process. By 1706, that number had increased to 769 schools all over the world. In some parts of Europe, the Jesuits held a virtual monopoly on education, including parts of France, Austria, southern Germany, and Spain. And almost without exception, all of those schools performed plays, resulting in a huge body of dramatic literature and numerous public and private performances. According to Robert S. Miola, in the seventeenth century, “at least one hundred thousand (100,000) Jesuit dramas played on European stages.” (“Early Modern Catholicism: An Anthology of Primary Sources,” 2007, 329).

The performers and the audiences alike were the school’s students, although parents, patrons, and other personages of note would be invited to attend certain performances as well. Cardinal Richelieu, Cardinal Mazarin, and Louis XIV were all supporters and regular patrons of Jesuit drama in France.

1663 – First Jesuit play 🎭 about Lord Takayama is presented this year. Even an incomplete survey of the plays about Takayama shows how his fame spread throughout Europe, and played a role in the development of European drama.

Based on the research of Fr. John Baptist Muller, SJ (📖 “The Jesuit Drama,” Augsburg, 1930), and Fr. Thomas Imoos, SMB (professor of German Literature at Sophia University), the Takayama plays were presented from 1663 to 1742.

1663 – Munich (Germany) — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1666 – Vienna (Austria) — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1673 — Cornelius Hazart, SJ (1617-1690) — 📚 “Kerckelijke Historie van de Geheele Werelt…” (Religious History of the Whole World), Vienna: 1673.

1673 – Landshut, Bavaria, Germany — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1682 – Lucerne (Switzerland) — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1689 – Winnocx (Belgium) — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1691 — Kortryjk (Belgium) — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1698 – Sint Winchsbergen — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1698 — Kortryjk — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1724 – Ellwangen — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1742 — Solothurn — 🎭 Takayama play (presentation title, not indicated).

1775 – St. Alphonsus Ligouri, 📚”Victories of the Martyrs: Or, the Lives of the Most Celebrated Martyrs of the Church (1775, 1887, 1954). Researching at the Vatican Archives, Fr. (later, Saint) Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri, CSsR (1696-1787) — “patron saint of journalists” – studied the Takayama papers and concluded that, despite dying in bed surrounded by family, Takayama was truly a martyr.

1806 — Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806, “Oratorio for Takayama” (1806). A music researcher at the British Library shared there was a chorus in honor of Takayama composed by the Austrian composer Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806), younger brother of the more famous composer, Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) who was the most celebrated composer in Europe. The younger Haydn composed a chorus honoring Takayama. “It features a composite of Takayama and Titus,” Fr. Thomas Imoos, SMB (1918-2001) notes. Researchers in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, Japan tracked this down in Salzburg, studied the music, and had a choir sing at a symposium in Takatsuki.

1912 — MANRESA MOSAIC (1912) – There was a portrait of Takayama Ukon that was part of a mosaic on the nave of the church at the Santa Cueva in Manresa, Spain – which was first published in black & white in the “Tribune” in Manila in September 1942.

►This mosaic depicted six Catholic noblemen who were all products of the Jesuits’ famed 30-day “Spiritual Exercises,” namely:🔸the Bourbon king of France, Louis XIII, holding the book “Exercitia Spiritualia”;🔸Don Alvaro de Cordoba, a Spanish grandee whose public life was much influenced by the Jesuit manual;🔸the Hapsburg prince, Don Juan de Austria (1545-1578) — half-brother of Philip II, king of Spain — familiar to Filipinos as the victor of the Battle of Lepanto (1571);🔸Lord Justo Takayama Ukon (identified in the mosaic as “Justo Ucandono”);🔸Marques de Villapuente, renowned in Mexico, Africa and Europe for his charities; and🔸Don Lupercio de Arbizu, the Aragon nobleman who was persuaded by the Jesuits to build Manresa into a city.#

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, PhD
Managing Trustee
Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama

Nagasaki and Manila Are Linked by Two Martyrs: 💥San Lorenzo Ruiz and 💥Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama ~ Cardinal Tagle

Blessed Justo Takayama
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►A “bridge of faith and martyrdom” links the “Kirishitan Samurai,” Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), Japan’s greatest lay missionary in the 16th century, who died in Manila in 1615, with San Lorenzo Ruiz (1594-1637), Filipino protomartyr who died in Nagasaki in 1637. “Martyrdom is the deepest link between our two churches,” Cardinal-Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Cardinal Prefect of the Evangelization of Peoples  (“Propaganda Fide”), has said.

In a Eucharistic Mass with Japanese Catholics in Kobe, Japan on Feb. 3, 2016, then-Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said the Philippines, especially Manila, and Japan are linked through a “bridge of faith and martyrdom.”

On Feb. 7, 2017, Cardinal Tagle concelebrated the Mass during the Beatification Ceremonies at the Osaka-jō Hall, Kyōbashi, Osaka (Japan), which was presided by Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (CCS), on Pope Francis’s behalf.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz

►Lorenzo was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them, and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter.

Lorenzo’s life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that “he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide at which he was present or which was attributed to him.”

At that time, three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet, and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan.

They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, “I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there.” In Japan they were soon found out, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki.

They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears.

The superior, Fr. Gonzalez, died after some days. Both Fr. Shiwozuka and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions.

In Lorenzo’s moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, “I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life.” The interpreter was noncommittal, but in the ensuing hours Lorenzo felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators.

Lorenzo’s  persecutors gave him an ultimatum, “Would you renounce your faith in God if we let you live?” To which Lorenzo bravely responded, “If I had one thousand lives, I’d give it all to Jesus. I would never deny my faith even if it costs my life.

The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semi-circular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. Still alive, the three priests were then beheaded.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Cardinal Tagle visits St. Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine in Nagasaki

In 1987, Pope John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others: Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa, and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions is September 28.

Cardinal Tagle
Cardinal Tagle distributes Holy Communion during 400th Takayama Memorial Mass in Kobe on Feb. 3, 2015.

Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615; beatified 2017)

Hikogorō Takayama (彦五郎).was born in 1552, scion of the castellan of Sawa Castle in Yamato Province, Tomoteru Takayama (高山友照, 1531–1596), an ardent Buddhist who persecuted the early Jesuit missionaries. But in a series of discussions with Bro. Lorenzo, a half-blind Jesuit brother, he was convinced of the tenets of Christianity, and converted with his family and retinues at Sawa Castle. Hikogorō, 11, was baptized Justo, after St. Justin the Martyr, on whose feast day on June 1, 1563 Justo was baptized.

Dom Dario Tomoteru Takayama was awarded the Takatsuki Castle, but the old man decided to turn over the domain to his eldest son Ukon, who at age 21, ruled Takatsuki foe the next 11 years.

In Takatsuki, Lord Justo Ukon Takayama (高山右近) used his resources to build churches, oratorios and a seminary for the Jesuits – to the chagrin of the Buddhist advisers of  Chancellor Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豐臣 秀吉/豊臣 秀吉, 1537 – 1598).

In 1585, Ukon was reshuffled to to three-times larger Akashi (明石市, Akashi-shi) located in southern Hyōgo PrefectureJapan, on the Seto Inland Sea west of Kobe.

His troubles coincided with the persecution of Christians in Japan, which started on July 24-25, 1587. He received a message from Hideyoshi asking him to give up his faith or lose his fief and position in the latter’s army. He replied that while he had made an oath of allegiance to Hideyoshi, he was prepared to give up wealth, position and power to follow a greater lord, Jesus Christ.

Stripped of his Akashi domain, he became a ronin — a masterless samurai — who found protection with a Christian Daimyo, Admiral Augustine Konishi Yukinaga who, despite being a Christian, was needed by Hideyoshi to realize his conquest of Korea. With the tacit consent of Hideyoshi, Ukon was hired as a guest-general by Kaga Daimyo Toshiee Maeda, where he served until the final edict of February 1614, deporting him to either Macau or Manila.

Takayama left Kanazawa on Feb. 15, 1614, and after a 150-day journey in the winter, he arrived in Nagasaki where he boarded a boat for Manila on Nov. 8, 1614.

Takayama arrived in Manila on Dec. 21, 1614, and was literally greeted with open arms by the Spanish governor-general, Juan de Silva (r. 1609-1616). Justo Ucondono was accompanied by 350 Catholic deportees, including: his wife Lady Justa Kuroda Takayama (1563-?), a daughter, Lucia Takayama Yokoyama married to Yokoyama Daizen Yasuharu (1590-1645), a general of the Maeda clan; five grandchildren (the eldest 16, the youngest almost eight); and 💥23 Jesuits (eight Jesuit fathers and 15 Jesuit brothers), 💥four Franciscan fathers, 💥two Dominican fathers, 💥two Augustinian fathers, and 💥two secular fathers, 💥the 15 nuns (14 Japanese, one Korean) of the Jesuit-chaplained “Beatas de Meaco” or “Miyako no Bikuni” (Nuns of Kyoto, 1615-1656), 💥about 100 Japanese catechists, and 💥two dozen sons and daughters of Japanese noble families.

Sometime in January 1615, Takayama fell ill. He died of “a tropical ailment” four days later, on Tuesday,  Feb. 3, 1615 — only 44 days after his arrival in Manila on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614. He was buried near the High Altar of the Jesuit church in Intramuros – Santa Ana Church – at the PLM /Jesuit Compound.

Cardinal Tagle Celebrating 400th Takayama Memorial Mass in Kobe
Cardinsl Tasgle celebrates 400th Memorial Mass for Takayama, who was proposed for sainthood by the Manila Archdiocese in 16130 — only 15 years after Ukon died a Manila Catholic.

Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, 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.”

Writing about the “greatest Japanese missionary in the 16th century,” Fr. Anton Witwer, SJ, Jesuit General Postulator who promoted Takayama’s Cause, said: “Four hundred years have passed since the death of Justus Takayama Ukon (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila), remembered and revered in Japan not only as a martyr, but also as a great witness to the Christian faith, which he practiced in connection with the mission of the Society of Jesus.

“He was the greatest Japanese missionary of the sixteenth century because of how he lived the Christian faith with the tenacity, rigor and loyalty that were typical of the Japanese people, promoting the inculturation of Christianity through the witness of his life, which eventually led to his dying while in exile. Already at the time of his death people were talking of him as though he were a saint.

“His witness of faith was, and is, convincing. Just as his life has led many to the Gospel, so can the blood of his martyrdom continue to be “the seed of Christians.”#

San Lorenzi Ruiz (1594 Manila-1637 Nagasaki)
San Lorenzi Ruiz (1594 Manila-1637 Nagasaki)

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, PhD/History
Takayama Trustee

‘You Are My Liege Lord, But Christ’s First’ – Lord Takayama to Regent Hideyoshi, July 24, 1587

Lord Takayama at Takatsuki Castle
A Catholic convert at 11, Hikogoro Takayama became Lord of Takatsuki Castle at age 21. He ruled this strategic castletown that straddled the lone highway between Kyoto and Osaka for 12 years — until his transfer to Akashi with three times the revenue.

►In the summer of 1587, as the Regent (Kampaku) Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豐臣 秀吉/豊臣 秀吉, 1537–1598) was consolidating power with final battles in Kyushu, where the Akashi Daimyō Justo Takayama Ukon (高山右近, 1552-1615) was a field commander, he sent Sen no Rikyū (千利休, 1522–1591), to Lord Takayama: Would Ukon renounce his fealty to a foreign religion?

Hideyoshi did not want a foreign God in Japan. So he decided to expel all missionaries who were bringing the tenets of “that evil religion” among the Japanese, including many daimyos in Kyushu.

Rikyū was a friend of both Hideyoshi and Takayama, so he knew what Ukon’s reply would be, but he was duty-bound to bring the message nonetheless.

‘Christ First’

Lord Takayama knew well the consequences of his decision. He dispatched  a horseman from Hakata to Akashi – six hours’ drive in Japan’s modern roadway system – for his family to vacate immediately the new Akashi castle he had just built – before Hideyoshi’s cohorts got there.

Now a “rōnin” (浪人, “drifter” or “wanderer”), Takayama sought to keep his family together in the faith. For a year, he was under the protection of his friend and fellow Christian, Lord Konishi Yukinaga (小西 行長, 1555-1600) – who despite being a Christian, was untouchable because Hideyoshi needed him for the conquest of Korea – and then China.

Confrontation (Imagined) between Hideyoshi and Takayama
This composite used to be two separate illustrations that were hanging in the room of Fr. Hubert Cieslik, SJ, lead historian of Dom Justo Ukon Takayama. Dr. Ernesto de Pedro combined the two in this single artwork.

For the next 26 years, Takayama was in domestic exile in Kanazawa — whose Great Daimyo Lord Maeda Toshiie (前田 利家, 1538–1599) — though not a Christian, had a daughter who was one. Takayama served as guest general (“Kyakusho“). in Maeda’s standing army.

In 1590, Takayama fought for Lord Toshiie Maeda in the Siege of Odawara, Toyotomi Hideyoshi‘s campaign to eliminate the Hōjō clan as a threat to his power. Hideyoshi’s victory occasioned an invitation from Hideyoshi for Ukon to join him at a tea ceremony, suggesting there was no personal enmity between the two wary men.

While Takayama himself served at the Maeda court in Kanazawa, he was given an estate in Noto Peninsula to support his family and his retainers. Here he invited some 600 Christian ronin and their families to make up two ecclesial communities in Shika-machi (志賀町) and Shio-machi (志雄町) with its own Jesuit chaplain and Brother.

But the increasing Christian activity of Ukon had not escaped the notice of Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康, 1543-1616) and when the ruler ordered the expulsion of the missionaries on Jan. 27, 1614, he paid special attention to the Christian community, exiling its leaders Ukon and Lord Juan Tokuan Naitô (内藤 如安, c15491626) along with their families. Other outstanding members of this church were condemned to hard labor in the region of Tsugaru.

The Tokugawa shogunate’s prohibition was extended to everyone regardless of class or origin, including all missionaries without exception. The shogunate was concerned about a possible invasion by the Iberian colonial powers, which had previously occurred in the New World and the Philippines.

Takayama in Kanazawa
The “Samurai of Christ” Ukon Takayama spent the last 26 years of his life in Kanazawa. These years were Ukon’s happiest because, unique in all Japan, he was able to establish two ecclesial communities with their own Jesuit chaplain in his estate in Shika-machi and Shio-machi in the Noto Peninsula.

It was from Kanazawa that Takayama departed for Manila on Feb. 14, 1614 – on a 267-day journey on foot (with lengthy stops to wait for developments) to Nagasaki – and after a 43-day voyage to the Philippines on board a Chinese sampan captained by the Portuguese mariner Esteban d’Acosta — arrived in Manila on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614 – with his family of 7 (wife Doña Justa Kuroda Takayama, daughter Lady Lucia Yokoyama [wife of Lord Yokoyama Daizen Yasuharu], and five grandsons (aged 8-16), all surnamed Takayama) and 350 other migrants and refugees (M&R).

Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro, PhD
Managing Trustee
Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama

Latin Hymn ‘Te Deum Laudamus’ Was Battle Hymn of 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki (1597)

►Aside from ‘Te Deum Laudamus,’ Japanese Christians chanted other Latin hymns: “Ave Maria,” “Adoro Te Devote,” “Regina Caeli,” “Pange Lingua Gloriosi,” “Veni Creator Spiritus,” and “Salve Regina.”

As the 26 Martyrs were marched along the long road from Kyoto to Nagasaki, they chanted the “Te Deum Laudamus” (“Thee, O God, we praise”) over and over again — Jesuits and Franciscans alike. If he had been the 27th Martyr, Lord Justus Ukon Takayama (1552 Osaka-1615 Manila) would have added his full-throated voice to the plain chant.

But, alas, Dom Justus missed his chance at martyrdom, because his name, which originally topped the list, had been crossed out by Lord Maeda Toshiie (who, since 1588, had been the liege lord of Ukon) and Lord Ishida Mitsunari, daimyo of Sawayama in Ōmi Province.

Lord Takayama had been stripped of his feudal domain in Akashi in 1587, and was now a guest general (Kyakusho) in Lord Maeda’s employ.

The two daimyos calculated that the untimely execution of Ukon, the foremost Christian ex-daimyo, might cause complications they could not foresee.

Beginning Jan. 10, 1597, the 26 martyrs — with their left ears cut off — were marched barefoot in the snow from Kyoto to Nagasaki – via the scenic route. They walked about 620 miles (1,000 km) over the course of 26 days. They left Sakai and went to Osaka, Hyogo, Akashi, Himeji, Akaho, Okayama, Omichi, Mihara, Hiroshima, Shimonoseki. They traveled by boat from Shimonoseki to Okura and they walked to Hakata, Karatsu and Sonogi. Traveling by boat from Sonogi, they went to Tokitsu and they walked to Nagasaki.

On Feb. 5, 1597, Japan’s 26 proto-martyrs – three Japanese Jesuits, and 17 Japanese members of the Third Order of St. Francis, including three young boys, and four Spaniards, one Mexican, one Portuguese from India (all of whom were Franciscan missionaries – were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki on the orders of the Lord Chancellor (Kampaku) Hideyoshi Toyotomi (豐臣 秀吉/豊臣 秀吉, 1537-1598).

Two proto-martyrs stand out:

💥 St. Paul Miki (1562-1597), son of a Kirishitan Samurai in the service of Lord Takayama in Takatsuki Castle. Paul studied at a Jesuit seminary at Arima, built in 1580 beneath Hinoe Castle, repurposed by Lord Takayama from a Buddhist monastery. The original décor was left largely unchanged.

💥 St. Fr. Pedro Bautista (1542-1597), Father Provincial of the Franciscans of the Philippines and founder of the San Francisco Monastery in Quezon City, had arrived as the Philippine Ambassador to Hideyoshi’s court in 1593, and was royally received. With his diplomatic chores done, he was permitted to remain in Japan to set up a Franciscan missionary outpost.

When Hideyoshi lost his temper over steady advances of Christianity, he ordered the execution of “the Manila friars” (meaning, Fr. Bautista and his confreres) and other Japanese Christians to deter the spread of Christianity. He prescribed crucifixion as the method of death, in grim parody of Christ’s own death.

These individuals were raised on crosses and then pierced through with spears.

‘Te Deum’ in Manila Cathedral

When the first Japanese exile boat with 350 Catholics deported from Japan, led by Lord Takayama, arrived in Manila after a perilous 43-day voyage, they were grateful for the new lease on life they were graced with. On the late afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 21, 1614, the exiles / refugees / migrants visited the newly consecrated  Manila Catholic (III) – inaugurated just 16 days earlier on Dec. 5, 1614 — and sang a “Te Deum.” It was the battle hymn they had not been able to sing during the typhoon that wrecked their voyage.

It was an ancient hymn of deliverance written in A.D. 387. It survives to this day largely through the devotion of Benedictine monks.

Lord Takayama (a.k.a. “Dom Justo Ucondono”) did not know what the future held for him, but he was now newly arrived in a land where he and his family could now practice freely their Catholic Faith.#

Dr. ERNESTO A. DE PEDRO, PhD
Managing Trustee, Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama

On Record: Pope Remembers Beatification of ‘Christ’s Samurai’ in Japan

►Justus Takayama Ukon, Japanese Feudal Lord Who Gave Up Every Privilege and Accepted Exile to Follow the Gospel

►►(By FEDERICO CENCI | FEBRUARY 8, 2017) —  “Yesterday, in Osaka, Japan, Dom Justo Takayama Ukon, loyal Japanese layman, who was martyred in Manila in 1615 was beatified.”

Pope Francis remembered during his weekly General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall this morning, noting: “Rather than compromise, he 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,” Francis said.

Samurai of Christ

Justus Takayama Ukon, a samurai at the service of Christ, was persecuted for following the Gospel in 16th century Japan. Married and father of five children, he became a Christian at 11 years of age, when his father converted — taking the name Darius and giving his son the name Justus — thanks to the preaching of Jesuit missionaries.

There is a saying in Japan that recurs every year, on the remembrance of the dropping of the atomic bomb: “Hiroshima screams, Nagasaki prays – protests in the first city hit by U.S. aviation, composed liturgies in the second.”

Small Minority of Catholics in Japan

This is a fact that attests to the presence in the country of the Rising Sun of a “small” Christian “flock,” which for centuries was able to endure persecutions, offering a testimony dedicated to dignified silence.

This seraphic attitude is summarized in the expression of the statue at Osaka representing Ukon – a warrior with a proud look and with hair gathered behind his head and in his hands, a sword surmounted by a crucifix.

In order not to abjure his Christian faith, years later Ukon was willing to lose all the recognition he had obtained … and to die in exile. The Takayama Tomoteru family was powerful — lords of the Sawa castle and of the whole region of Takatsuki

They were individuals rich in money and warrior virtues. Ukon, like all his relatives, practiced bushido, the “life of the sword,” which combines military discipline and very rigid moral norms. He was also a daimyo of imperial appointment, hence he had the right to contract a private army.

The Japan in which he lived (about the year 1580) was led by the Chancellor Toyotomi Hideyoshi, known also as the “second unifier of the homeland.” The first Christian preachers also disembarked at that time, Jesuits led by Saint Francis Xavier.

They succeeded in bringing many people to Christ, primarily powerful samurai families, especially in the Nagasaki area. In 1587, however, Hideyoshi decided to limit what was described as the “religion of the West.”

Torture, extortions, abjurations and violence pushed the majority of the Christian neophytes to abandon the faith. Ukon and his father, however, resisted. Willing to face death and humiliation but not to renounce Christianity, they remitted terrains and military honors in the hands of the Chancellor.

They faced a life of hardship until 1614, when the Shogun decided to ban Christianity altogether. At that point, Ukon chose life in exile and, together with 350 other Christians, went to Manila. In the Philippines, he was supported by local Catholics, European Jesuits and Spain, the colonial power. He died at Manila just 44 days after his arrival, on February 4, 1615. His Catholic funeral was decorated with the highest military honors.

Legacy of Dom Justus Takayama

In Japan, his homeland, Ukon aleft a trace that endures up to today. Before going into exile, he contributed to the foundation of several seminaries in the Nagasaki area, small communities that had the task to keep the Christian flame lighted in the course of the centuries. Nagasaki is, still today, the area in which the greatest number of followers of Christ is concentrated.

The memory of Justus Takayama Ukon always remained alive in them. Already in the 17th century, thanks to the clergy of Manila, an attempt was made to beatify “Christ’s samurai.” However, because of the isolationist policy of the Tokugawa shogunate, it was impossible to enter into possession of the necessary documents for the canonical investigation…

Beatification Rites in Osaka

Finally yesterday, Justus’ beatification was able to become a reality. Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, celebrated the Mass at Osaka. AsiaNews reported that he described the new Blessed as “an extraordinary witness of the Christian faith in difficult times of opposition and persecution.”

Justus is the first individual to receive the honors of the altar in the history of Japanese Catholicism. Japan has in fact 42 Saints and 393 Blesseds, all martyrs of the Edo period (1603-1867) and all celebrated as a group.

These martyrs bless the Japanese Church with their “splendid witness,” said Cardinal Amato. A splendor that shines in the honor of Justus Takayama Ukon, “Christ’s samurai.”#

Retrieved by: Adelaida M. de Pedro
Auxiliary, Missionary Disciples for a New Evangelization (MDNE)