Page 1, 17th June 1949

17th June 1949
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Page 1, 17th June 1949 — Francis Xavier Celebrations Reach Climax In Tokyo's Stadium
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Locations: Tokyo, Nagoya, Sydney

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Francis Xavier Celebrations Reach Climax In Tokyo's Stadium

The two weeks of celebration of the fourth centenary of the arrival in Japan of St. Francis Xavier in Japan ended on Sunday last with a solemn Pontifical mass sung by the Papal Legate, Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney, in the huge Meji Stadium in Tokyo.

Over 20.000 Japanese and Allied worshippers were present when the preserved right arm of the saint, the relic which has been taken all through Japan during the celebrations, was brought to the open-air altar in the stadium specially for the final celebration, which was the Pontifical Mass.

Present at the ceremony were Prince Takamatsu. brother of the Emperor Hirohito, and Princess Takamatsu, together with a few high Japanese officials. The Japanese Premier, Shigeru Yoshida, sent a message praising St. Francis Xavier, read by a member of his cabinet who attended.

The Cardinal Legate in his sermon said: " Civil and religious authorities vied with each other wherever we went in Japan, honouring the sacred relic of the Saint and the pilgrims who accompanied it. The entire population received us with kindness and treated us with a generosity that could hardly be excelled."

Torches flamed and chimes pealed to welcome the famous relic, accompanied by the international pilgrim

age group, on the night of its arrival in Tokyo after a 12-day journey to Nagasaki and back.

Earlier in the same evening, in the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Yokohama, last stop before Tokyo, the pilgrims finished the Novena of Grace began nine days earlier in the Southern port of Kagoshima. where St. Francis Xavier landed.

The Governor of the Prefecture and Yokohama's Mayor attended the services. also Brig.-Gen. W. P. Shepard, representing Lt.-Gen. Walton H. Walker, commanding the U.S. Eighth Army. General Shepard, who. with Mrs. Shepard, was received into the Church ten days

ago, spoke later at a civil reception given by the Governor and Mayor.

The Novena services in Nagoya were held in the chapel of Japan's third Catholic institution of University rank, Nanza, conducted by Fathers of the Society of the Divine Word. Nanza was only recently raised to the rank of a university.

Just before Cardinal Gilroy left Tokyo by air for Sydney. Kojo Sakamoto, a Buddhist high priest, gave him three paintings by a contemporary artist. Teshai Tomioka, as a gift for the Holy Father.

The first parish church in Japan dedicated to St. Patrick was blessed last week by Cardinal Gilroy during the celebrations. It is staffed by the Coluraban Fathers from the U.S. and Ireland.




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