Fr Paddy Clarke

About That Sermon

By Fr Paddy Clarke

Preaching in Japan

I worked as a Columban missionary in Japan for thirty years. My first parish was a small one in a place called Shingu. Each Sunday when I looked down at my small congregation and began to preach I could see one lady up front who looked up with great expectations in her eyes, waiting for my words...Then as I went on and on...and on, I noticed a body change. She began to list to one side, like a sinking ship and I noticed both her eyes were closed. Then there was Mrs Okada whom I had baptised as an adult. She had a note book and was busy writing down every word I uttered. Then there was this big man in the very last seat who when the Gospel was read, promptly sat down, put his two hands on the seat in front of him and went to sleep even before the sermon began!