We, the members of the Chicago-Detroit Province, have been very concerned about the situation and welfare of our Jesuit brothers (and their ministries) in Japan. We were heartened to receive a letter from the Provincial of the Japanese Province, Kajiyama Yoshio, SJ, on Monday, March 14, 2011 sharing the following news:
“While we pray for the thousands of victims and their families and other thousands who lost their homes or who have to evacuate the nuclear reactor vicinity, we can report that our own Jesuit men and their works were not seriously affected, as we have no presence north of Tokyo. We have heard no reports from the Sendai Diocese. There are many Catholic facilities in that diocese but most of these are inland from the shore.
Our Tokyo and Kamakura houses and schools experienced violent shaking but no irreparable damage. Several statues fell, losing an arm or a head. The cross at the pinnacle of the tower of St Ignatius Church in central Tokyo was wrenched from its moorings and hangs menacingly upside down held only at its base. The area below the tower has been cordoned off.”
We also know that many of our companions and collaborators desire to offer support during this time of need. It is the suggestion from the leadership of the US Jesuit Conference that if donors wish to immediately support the emergency response, they can donate to Catholic Relief Services (www.crs.org/japan) who will direct the funds to Caritas Japan, the social service arm of the Church that responds with food and other assistance. CRS will assist Caritas Japan with financial resources as well as expertise if requested.
If we receive an appeal from the Japan province, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and/or the Jesuit Refugee Service, we will send an updated statement.
Thank you for your concern and interest in Jesuit ministries in Japan. Please visit our site here often so that we can keep you updated on news and information on this situation.