Some Words of Gratitude about the Addition
of the "Nagasaki Church Group and Christian-related Cultural Assets" as
Candidates for the World Heritage Provisional List
On the occasion of the
recent addition of the "Nagasaki Church Group and Christian Related
Cultural Assets" as candidates for the World Heritage Provisional List,
the Catholic Archdiocese of Nagasaki wishes to accept this news as an
honor and with joy. Needless to say, the Churches were built as an
expression of faith filled hearts and as such, they are witnesses of
the history of our faith. So the fact that together with the Church
Group the spiritual path of many believers is being recognized at a
world level is a significant event not only for Nagasaki Prefecture but
also for the whole country.
Through more than 450 years,
the Christian Religion and culture in our country have been influenced
greatly by the world situations and the events of Japanese history, and
eventually crystallized in the present form in Nagasaki. At the same
time I think we can be proud of this result as a concrete expression of
a spiritual culture which affected the whole country. These Churches
also constitute a concrete shape which the encounter of Western and
Japanese Cultures has taken.
The group has not yet been
formally accepted as World Heritage, but it seems that an appropriate
response to the fact that these churches are being considered for
recognition as such will be to make the following recommendations.
1. To welcome all people
that with respectful heart come to the Churches and to help them to
make their spiritual pilgrimage.
2. To strive to keep the
Churches’ character as places of ordinary religious worship to develop
them into "places of healing and encounter".
3. To increase the
consciousness that they are appreciated worldwide as a treasure of
Japan and maintain them properly.
4. To strive to make the
Churches be places of prayer – beyond religious and sectarian
differences- for the peace that the peoples of the world so greatly
Lastly, I want to thank all
the people who have helped and supported us in this movement.
Joseph Mitsuaki TAKAMI, Archbishop of
January, 23, 2007