Fr. Joseph Brooder mssc

Father Joe, Wake Me Before I Die!

By Fr. Joseph Brooder, mssc

By the time I got to Japan twenty-five years ago, ecumenism was very strong. But it had not always been that way. One Protestant minister told me that when Father Pat Diamond sent an invitation to all the Protestant ministers in the City of Kumamoto to attend the opening of the new hall in Tetori parish, they got together to discuss whether it would be safe to attend or not. They prayed about it, but decided to risk death and attend. The rest is history.

They where bowled over by the reception they got, met priests whom they found to be normal after all, and had a great party. “We discovered that Catholics really do believe in Christ,” said one of the ministers. That was the beginning of different churches working together in Kumamoto. Perhaps Father Pat Diamond did more for ecumenism there by that invitation than did Vatican II. Since then every Christmas Catholic and Protestant churches hire out the local threatre to hold a Christmas pageant. Catholic and Protestant schools stage the nativity in drama. On alternate years, the guest speaker is Catholic or Protestant.