Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maryknoll Priests Bio - in Japan

Fr. Alfonso Kim

is a Maryknoll Missioner engaged in youth ministry in the Kyoto Diocese. Fr Kim Led the Japan Catholic Representation at the Asian Youth Gathering in Bangkok in August 1999. He was selected to be a representative for the Asian Catholic Youth of Japan to the World Youth day in Rome August 2000. Fr. Kim started the New Year 2000 by delivering a message to Vatican Radio from his parish in Kyoto, Japan. He said, "We, the Youth of the world, need to work and pray for world peace. We must work together because we are co-workers with God in this beautiful creation." He is the assistant pastor of the Kusatsu Catholic Church on Lake Biwa.

The area is a growing metropolis of the City of Kyoto. "Many young people come to the Church because there is something that the society can not offer, community, faith and love". Alfonso is often called to give talks and retreats to youth throughout Asia. He has a special appeal because of his dynamic nature and his multicultural heritage. He was born A Korean, raised in Argentina and his family migrated to America when he was in his teens.

He speaks many languages and is able to cross many borders. Recently Fr Kim had a chance to meet with Cardinal Kim of Korea and Bishop Lee of Taegu.They voiced the deep concern for reconciliation and peace between Korea and Japan. Fr Alfonso Kim is inspired by Pope John Paul II steps towards reconciliation. Reconciliation between Korea and Japan has been one of the many gifts that Fr Kim has shared in his mission. At a recent gathering of Korean and Japanese students Fr Kim said, "Korean students know about the history but most Japanese students have no idea what happened between these two countries." Fr Kim seeks to educate the Japanese youth about the history, understand can foster healing and reconciliation. "The Korean youth want to share their pains, not to continue hurting others, rather, so healing can begin." "Japan has a tremendous cultural influence on other countries in Asia.

The youth of the Japanese Church can affect other Asian countries." But they must learn their history. Recently, the Pastor of Kusatsu Church pointed to the map of the Kyoto diocese, and said, "This is my map." He turned and pointed to the map of the world, "That is Fr Alfonso's map." In a recent seminar in Hong Kong Fr Kim Meet a well-known Catholic India theologian Fr. Michael Amaladoss. S.J. Fr Amaladoss said, "You must bring your roots to Asia and discover depths of the Asia Spirituality in order to renew the Catholic faith in Asia.

Fr. James Mylet

Father James is one of two sons of Jerome and Corinne Voris Mylet, was born on April 26th, 1946 in Seattle Washington. He attended St Margaret’s Grade School and graduated from O’Dea High School. After High School he entered Maryknoll at Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois in the fall of 1964. He graduated in 1968 with honors earning a B.A. in Philosophy. He subsequently has earned a Masters in Divinity and a Masters of Theology and has pursued Studies in biblical archaeology, Old Testement Prophets and Japanese Studies. Father Mylet was ordained in 1975.

Father Mylet went to Japan in 1970 as one of the first seminarians in a overseas training program, After ordination he returned to Japan. He worked at the mission in Kyoto, Hope House, which was a place for people discriminated against in Japanese Society. He moved to Hokkaido and did mission in Muroran, he worked with youth and at schools and associations. He was transferred to Noboribetsu parish in 1978 and became a prinicipal of the kindergarten.

During his parish work Fr. Mylet focused on developing community and faith life in the parish. Fr Mylet became involved in Peace and Justice work through his connection with workers in the small factories. He is now the Peace and Justice Coordinator for all of Asia. From the late 1980’s Fr Mylet has been involved in the migrant issue in Japan.

In 1993 he was named as diocesan co-coordinator of the Commission on International Cooperation and Migration. At present he also is the Maryknoll Asia Pacific Coordinator of migrant missions, director of Welcome House, a diocesan hospitality house for foreigners in Sapporo. And he is a pastor of Teine Catholic Church in Sapporo. When the opportunity arises, Fr Mylet enjoys kayaking in the ocean, canoeing and hiking, and skiing.

The following summary of ministry to migrants is by James J. Mylet

Ministry to the migrants is a complex issue. No one person has the skills or the energy to do it all. It has to be a coordinated effort. There are issues relating to faith, work, visas, law, medicine and health care, health insurance, human rights, marriage, personal problems, adolescents growing up in a foreign environment, domestic violence, divorce, the education system, etc. Many migrant workers are under a great deal of stress and feel powerless. To pity these people only reinforces the reign of terror for them, saying that we too are as powerless as the workers feel in confronting this evil force, whatever it is.

For example, in Sapporo, Japan a Nepalese worker from an Indian restaurant came to Maryknoll at Welcome House, a hospitality house run by the diocese. A union representative for day laborers in Nagoya referred him to us. The worker had sought refuge there after leaving the restaurant. The complaint was that the worker had put in long hours of labor for over two years and had not been paid.

We investigated the case and decided to support him in his cause. In making the decision we had a meeting with our five member staff. Then we invited two labor union representatives, a Buddhist monk from Nepal living in Sapporo, another Nepalese chef, newspaper and television reporters, and a group of lawyers committed to working for human rights to join us.

When twenty people gathered, heard the worker
s story, and had a chance to question him and confirm that his grievance was just, there was a sense of empowerment in the room. We were in the struggle together. Everyone was committed to working on his or her area of responsibility.

We then went to the restaurant to present the grievances. A newspaper reporter came and interviewed the restaurant
s lawyer, asking some tough questions. A week later, thirteen cooks went on strike, shutting down a
number of the restaurants in the chain (the restaurant chain only has fourteen cooks in Sapporo).

We were caught by surprise with the wildcat strike. We quickly consulted a union representative and held a meeting the next evening. The labor union representative told the chefs that it is important for them to obey the Japanese law, because a work boycott is not recognized. For a strike to be legal, it has to be organized by a recognized group. By not doing so, they could be fired and counter sued for defaming the restaurant. The union leader created a labor union for them, which they then joined, and restated their grievances in a manner following Japanese law.

The labor leader stated that the cooks wanted to work for the restaurant, but that they were impaired from doing so by their grievances. A negotiating team was designated, and each worker was carefully and thoroughly interviewed, the grievances listed and unpaid wages calculated. In the meantime, the restaurant tried to deport the workers whose visas were expiring. Their lawyer told them that they would have to sponsor the workers until the case was settled, so the visas were extended. Then the restaurant chain tried to bring in cooks to replace the striking workers, but immigration stopped them because we had already been to the immigration offices three times listing the different grievances with the restaurant.

The dispute is now being negotiated. In working on the case, a Buddhist monk, a Protestant minister, a Protestant labor leader and other people from society joined us. It clearly demonstrates how the Church can get involved with other groups in the dialogue of life. By ministering to the migrant worker we have to call on the reserves of the larger community. We have to empower people as partners. We are being given the opportunity to cooperate with many people of good will in society. The Church throughout history has always struggled to hear the cry of the poor. Let us pray that we can be attentive on our watch.

Fr James J. Mylet of Seattle, Wash., is celebrating his 25th anniversary of ordination as a Maryknoll missioner this year. Currently the pastor of Teine Catholic Church in Sapporo, Japan, Father Mylet is diocesan co-coordinator of migrant ministry, as well as the director of Welcome House, a house of hospitality for foreigners in Sapporo.

Brother Michael Greyerbiehl

serves in the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc., the "Maryknoll Mission". He was seconded to work for WCRP in June 1999. Prior to joining the staff of WCRP he worked on inter-religious dialogue in Japan, in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hokkaido. He holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, M.A. in Pastoral Counseling from the Catholic Theological Union, and has graduate studies in Developmental and Clinical Psychology. He has worked with the mentally ill in the United States. He plans on pursuing graduate studies in the field of Comparative Religions in the near future. He is presently, working with the "forgotten Migrant workers", Seafarers in the port town of Tomakomai, Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. You can contact him at,

I am a Roman Catholic Maryknoll Missionary Brother assigned to do interreligious work in Japan. I have lived in Japan for about four years, working and living in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hokkaido. Most of my time has been spent studying Japanese language, acculturating and pursuing meditation among Buddhist and Christians. It has been difficult but a challenge

In June of 1999 I was assigned to do preparatory work for the Seventh World Assembly of the World Conference on Religion and Peace in New York at the United Nations. Before I went to work at WCRP’s I read their mission statement, “the World Conference on Religion and Peace has been dedicated to promoting cooperation among the world's religions for peace, while maintaining respect for religious differences.

WCRP is committed to the realization of each religious tradition's potential for peace building and seeks to actively engage religious communities in cooperation around issues of shared moral concern. WCRP provides a potent base of local, national, regional and global levels for a variety of peace-related activities.” This mission statement really impressed me as being a prophetic challenge to religious communities all over the world. I was inspired to work my hardest for the success not only of the Seventh world assembly but also by cooperating to promote peace among the world’s religions.

I was part of a team of a dozen people working to organize the assembly. While I was working on this team, my main co-workers were Rev. John McAuley and Rev. Sugino Kyoichi. The atmosphere in the office at the United Nations was very hectic and we were busy corresponding form morning until night. Rev. Sugino taught me a lot about what it means to be in interreligious dialogue. Rev. Sugino, once said, “there are three things which will make this assembly successful, one, to have a deep personal commitment and dedication; two, to have true cooperation and collaboration in this office and all WCRP offices; and three, to have the divine help and prayers.” These three factors I believe were central to our working style. I could see in Rev. Sugino daily commitment to his Community of Rissho Kosei Kai, the WCRP work and to his own personal prayer life a true spirituality of peacemaking and dialogue. His commitment was also imbued with a profound openness to the ambiguity of everyday life. Living outside of ones home culture makes one acutely aware of the fragileness of life and the limitations of one’s self, which ever deepens ones faith and commitment.

Rev Sugino and I had many opportunities to exchange experiences of what it means to be a Buddhist and what it means to be a Catholic. We shared simple practices, like how do you say the Catholic rosary and the Buddhists prayer beads? What do Buddhist believe? What is the Buddhist Seminary training like? What is it like being a Buddhist Priest in America? What does interreligious dialogue mean? How do you do interreligious dialogue? What does it mean to be a peacemaker? What is Spirituality? What is the meaning if suffering and death in Buddhist and Catholic tradition? What is happiness in everyday life? These and many more issues we shared on and were able to question. I am very grateful for the chance I had to share these questions with Rev. Sugino. Together we searched and shared answers and questions to many mysteries in life. In any case, together we experience what it really means to be human. I will never forget the experience of being part of the Seventh World Assembly.

After the Assembly in Amman, I returned to Japan to discover that I have been assigned for further studies in Interreligious dialogue. I also found that there was an article in the February 2000, Maryknoll Magazine entitled “What is Buddhism?” The article describes the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The article also describes in brief the history of Buddhism and the Roman Catholic Churches teaching. The Second Vatican Council called for dialogue and collaboration with followers of Buddhism and other non-Christian religions, declaring: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions.”

I was also delighted to read in a very recent document “Ecclesia in Asia.” Coming from the Asia Bishops conference. Pope John Paul II states in Chapter V of “Ecclesia in Asia” interreligious dialogue is a task which the Second Vatican Council bequeathed to the whole Church as a duty and as a Challenge and that the advent of a new millennium offers a great opportunity for such a dialogue with the leaders of the great world religions. Then Pope John Paul II recalls the principles to be followed in this search for a positive relationship with other religious traditions as set out in the Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, the Magna Charta of interreligious dialogue for our times in the Catholic tradition. Thus, “Although the Church gladly acknowledges whatever is true and holy in the religious traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam as a reflection of that truth which enlightens all people, this does not lessen her duty and resolve to proclaim without failing Jesus Christ who is ‘the way and the truth and the life’…The fact that followers of other religions can receive God’s grace and be saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which he has established does not thereby cancel the call to faith and baptism which God wills for all people. In interreligious dialogue, as I have already written in my Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio, “there must be no abandonment of principles nor false irenicism, but instead a witness given and received for mutual advancement on the road of religious inquiry and experience and at the same time for the elimination of prejudice, intolerance and misunderstandings.” Only those with a mature and convinced Christian faith are qualified to engage in genuine interreligious dialogue. “ Only Christians who are deeply immersed in the mystery of Christ and who are happy in their faith community can without undue risk and with hope of positive fruit engage in interreligious dialogue.” It is therefore important for the Church in Asia to provide suitable models of interreligious dialogue-evangelization in dialogue and dialogue for evangelization-and suitable training for those involved.” Interreligious dialogue does not mean lessening my faith and believing in another faith. Rather, it challenges me to understand my faith more deeply by sharing that belief with someone who holds a different belief. Further, this sharing opens me to the spirit of renewal. In this sharing dynamic we are challenged to go deeper into our respective traditions. But I have learned that it does not end at just sharing experiences, rituals and beliefs, we are challenged to common action, action based on mutual cooperation and collaboration. Common action rooted in the sharing dynamic of understanding others faith traditions.

I would like to next draw your attention to Chapter VII of Ecclesia in Asia Chapter VII, entitled “Witnesses to the Gospel,” focuses on the Church’s missionary identity in Asia. The Church strives to be a credible witness because “people today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories”; in the Asian context “people are more persuaded by holiness of life than by intellectual argument”(42). Ecclesia in Asia asserts that it is a “genuinely religious person [who] readily wins respect and a following in Asia” (23). Gospel witness in Asia needs holy men and women who themselves are “on fire with the love of Christ (the compassion of Buddha) and burning with zeal to make Christ (Buddha) known more widely, loving more deeply and following more closely.” “A fire can only be lit by something that is itself on fire”; Christian and Buddhist witness demands “a true spirituality of prayer and contemplation” (23). We are all called to be people of “contemplative action and active contemplation” (23). I really saw this in action working with Rev. Sugino Kyoichi.

Fr. Regis Ging

is currently working at the Tokyo center house. He was the former regional superior of Japan. He worked in Hokkaido for 20 years as a teacher and pastor in a high school. He is currently working on a computer accounting system for Maryknoll worldwide. He is also the coordinator for the migrant workers minister. He is the Overseas training coordinator. His hobbies include, music, computers, travel, and reading.

Fr. Francis Riha

He has been doing mission in Hokkaido for more than 20 years. He is the head of the Seafarers council who minister to seafarers. He is on the regional council of Japan. He represents the Tomakomai area at leadership meetings for Hokkaido. Father Francis Riha is from Boston. He does mission at St Paul Catholic Church, the pastor of Shintomicho Church in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. The church is located in Tomakomai about 40 walk from down town. The church also runs a kindergarten. Father Frank is the prinicipal of the kindergarten. The church has an parish council and is well organized. There are 230 registered Catholics. There are men’s and Women’s groups, as well as a youth group that has activities. The parish has trained catechists. Father Frank is the area representative to the Bishop of Sapporo diocese. He has been on the Maryknoll regional council for three terms. Fr Francis hobbies are eating, reading, and movies.

Fr. Joseph Hermes

was born and raised in Illinios. He came to Japan after ordination for 8 years. He returned to the States to speak for Maryknoll and vocations. After 19 years he returned to Japan and is presently doing mission in Hokkaido. He is the pastor of Omotemachi Church in Tomakomai. There are over 400 members of the church. The average Sunday Mass attendance is 70 persons. Fr Hermes also does mission to the Seafarers. He celebrates the eucharist with the Seafarers and visits the ships regularly. Fr Hermes hobbies include gardening, reading, and walking.

Fr. Roy Assenheimer

leader of Maryknoll Alcohol and Drug rehabilitation centers throughout Japan. He has been active in recovery work for over 20 years. He has received numerous awards from the Japanese government regarding his work with addicts. Thanks to Fr Roys work Addictions are now understood and treated as a disease by the Japanese Government. Fr Roy's most recent project is called the Asia Pacific Addiction Research Institute. The Institute researches and promotes recovery programs throughout Asia.

A Christmas Story, After Endless Defeat, Eternal Victory

By Fr. Roy Assenheimer

Fr. Assenheimer has served as a Maryknoll Missioner in Japan since 1965. He has specialized in helping alcoholics and drug addicts and founded MAC, the Maryknoll Addiction Center on the island of Hokkaido, Northern Japan.

On Christmas Eve a larger than usual number of AA members had gathered for their 7:00 p.m. meeting. These people, most without families, found this the best place, the safest place to be on such a night—with other recovered and recovering alcoholics. The center of attention that particular evening was Tanaka-san.

He was celebrating his "one month of sobriety" in the AA program. (Since AA is anonymous, I am not using his real name.) Over a four-year period, he had been in and out of AA, never lasting more than a few days; certainly no longer than two weeks. Heaven knows, he tried! But everyone had given up hope for him. He just had too many psychological complications.

I recall once looking at him and voicing to myself, "Tanaka-san. Can even God help you?" But at this evening's meeting, everyone there felt the miracle of Tanaka. No human power could possibly have kept him sober for a full 30 days. No Have! Everybody really felt a Greater power. But just as that joyous meeting ended and everyone stood to begin cleaning up the place, Tanaka suddenly fell to the floor, blood dripping from the side of his mouth. Since they were near the hospital which had cared for him many times, they managed to get him there quite soon. Someone called me. I went directly to the room where they had him, the others following behind.

A young doctor and a nurse were with him. He looked bad. The nurse whispered, "Tanaka-san. Father Roy is here." He opened his eyes, and his face became alive with joy and serenity that I never imagined possible for him. We did it. Father Roy. A whole month! Thanks to God and to all of you. At least now I can die . . . ." And with an almost impish smile, he closed his eyes and slipped away from us. He had gone Home.

No one mourned Tanaka-san. What we saw and heard was too beautiful for weeping. We were witnesses to salvation and resurrection. We recall his death with fondness and joy. When I look at the image of a Madonna and Child, I imagine the Child being Tanaka-san, with Mary embracing him, being the Mother he never had as a child. Tanaka was one more Jesus in my life, teaching, sharing with me, and showing me where life really lies. Tanaka attained the perfect healing, eternal Life-the perfect Christmas present. I hope and pray that your Christmas will be as joyful as that Christmas was for me.

Transformation - My story

"My name is Father Roy and I am a drug addict." I always begin my talks with these words. If it is my first appearance before this particular audience I will hear some giggling emanating from the crowd. They think I am telling a joke. But if my audience is made up of recovered and recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, no one is surprised or shocked by this self-revelation. In fact, before me I find a sea of understanding smiles. These smiles are a sign of recognition, of identification, and of instant bonding and fellowship. My listeners sit back and relax, for they know that I'm going to tell them a story, my story. They know this because this is the way we all talk. They know that I am going to tell them my story of slavery to addiction with all the suffering that racked the body and heart of this simple priest.

I won't spend too much time telling of the hell of my addiction to alcohol and other drugs; for more important is the story of the turning point in my life, and how it is that I have come to stand before them, a free and happy human person and a 'wounded healer'. I pronounce myself a drug addict, not as a confession, for we all have learned that addiction is a disease, not a sin or a weakness of character. Indeed, have we ever heard a person confess, "I am a diabetic. Please forgive me." No. Before my fellow addicts I call myself an addict, not as a 'confession', but with the purpose of ever keeping in mind that

I am powerless over my addiction and that it is only through the love and power of my God (many call this saving power their 'Higher Power', 'God as they understand Him', a 'power greater than' themselves) that I remain sober today, one day at a time. I do not 'confess' addiction because I really do not need 'forgiveness' for it. The only one from whom I needed forgiveness was from myself, for in my active addiction, I writhed in painful guilt blaming myself constantly for having become a drunk priest. I did not know at the time that I was merely a victim of a disease called 'addiction'. I identify myself as a drug addict, even though for ten years alcohol was the greatest problem in my life. This is because alcohol is also a drug, probably the most abused drug of them all. Another reason is that during the many periods when I tried to stop drinking, I merely substituted the object of my addiction from alcohol to tranquilizers, sleeping pills, cough syrups and other addictive drugs. My body craved these chemicals: and I could not control my use of them. No matter how much I tried, it was just too painful to stop. Only an addicted person can understand the terrible physical and emotional pain in trying to control or stop taking a drug. I tell my audience, "I am an addict", not "I was an addict."

Addiction for me is an incurable disease. Even with all my knowledge of addiction, if I should choose to take a drink this day, an unseen switch would be turned on inside my body which would ignite anew the craving for the drug. My addiction is incurable, but recovery has been possible. As long as an addicted person is able to be honest with him/herself and willing to accept the help of other addicted persons, any addicted person can recover. No case is too hopeless. I know that among my listeners are people who have been addicted not only to alcohol and other drugs, but there are those who have been addicted to gambling, food (uncontrolled eating or the inability to eat), sex, relationships, to name a few. The common point for all of us is 'addiction'.

Many of my listeners are the families of addicted persons: parents, spouses, siblings, children of the addicted. Many of these people too are smiling. Their smiles are indeed an expression of gratitude that their addict son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother has been healed of their destructive addiction. But even more, these family members have been healed of their own addiction! A typical example is Mrs. B. At the age of 14 her daughter, Aiko (not real name), a talented and sensitive child, began experimenting with sniffing the addictive fumes of paint thinner, called shinna in Japanese.

For a while, her mother thought that this was just a brief phase of rebellion that her teenager was going through. But when addiction set in Mrs. B became frantic. Every waking hour of each day was taken up with worry and fear for her daughter's sake. She experienced anger and simmering resentment ("After all I've done for her; why is she doing this to me?"), of self-hatred, of guilt and of shame ("If I were a better mother, my daughter would not be taking drugs!" and "What will people think of us?"). She became exhausted trying to watch over her daughter and to protect her from her own devices. She lied for Aiko telephoning school that, "Aiko has a cold and won't be able to go to school today," when actually Aiko didn't have the strength even to get out of bed. In other words, this mother had become a participant in her daughter's addiction, a co-dependent. She was just as much a slave to shinna as her daughter was!

After two years of doing all she could to get her daughter to stop using shinna, she showed up at Tokyo's DARC (Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center, the only facility of its kind in Japan specializing in the treatment of drug addicts) with Aiko in tow. After listening to her story of woe, we handed Aiko over to our group of youngsters in the DARC Addiction Recovery Program. That was all she needed. Then, we escorted Mrs. B into the Meeting Room where another nine mothers and young wives were gathered for their weekly session. Like all newcomers, Mrs. B thought that she was going to learn how she could help solve her daughter's drug problem. Mrs. B soon learned that Aiko's problem was precisely that, Aiko's problem,not her mother's! It took some time for that basic principle to sink in. But she gradually came to the satori, as it were, that she is powerless over her daughter's addiction, and that her own life had become unmanageable. Mrs. B was just as addicted to her daughter's shinna as Aiko was. From morning till night, and many times in her sleep as well, the thought and worry over Aiko's addiction had taken over her whole life. She had become co-addicted. And the whole family was affected. They all had the family disease called addiction. Her first healthy response to the whole problem was her newly-found ability to turn her daughter’s drug problem over to DARC, and to turn her own suffering over to her own group of parents and spouses of drug addicts. Later she was to experience a kind of 'spiritual awakening' which enabled her to turn her life and her will over to the care of her Higher Power, the God of her understanding.

As I speak the words of my story before my audience, there are many parents, spouses and other family members seated there smiling in recognition of their own past suffering and continuing process of recovery from addiction in the front row sits Mrs. B. She is peaceful and content. Her daughter has been clean of all drugs, including alcohol, for three years now. For this she is most grateful. But, even if Aiko were still using drugs, Mrs. B knows that she would still be at peace, for she has turned her daughter's addiction over to her Higher Power. She realizes that her own happiness does not depend on the actions of another person. She has learned the value of grieving in the past; she blamed Aiko for her misery. Now she knows that, if she is unhappy, it is never someone else’s fault. The source of all happiness (and unhappiness) is within.

In my speech, I do not give a single bit of advice. Most of the time people don't really listen to advice anyway! Rather, my message is a proclamation of joy. I simply tell my story. My story is a saving event. My message is, from beginning to end, the "GOOD NEWS", and no longer the "Good Advice"!

You may ask, what do we do? We feed him, bathe him, clothe him; we sit with him during those first painful hours of withdrawal; we give him a mat to sleep on. If he wants to talk we listen to his story. His story is good for us, for it reminds us of our own stories of past suffering and slavery. We are reminded that this person could be ourselves if we were to pick up a drink once again. Yes, we do all we can to help this newcomer. But even more, we offer to walk with him through the process of recovery through which we ourselves continue to walk. We allow this beginner to help us. We tell him our stories, and we listen closely to his story, for his story is salvific for us too. Indeed, it is by listening that we hear what we need to hear for our own continuing recovery and spiritual growth. We are not the teachers, but fellow addicts (nakama).

We make suggestions to this newcomer. But we never tell him what he must do. Instead, we do it ourselves and we show him what to do and how to do it. We invite him to walk together with us We do not wear ourselves out by trying to change other people. Instead we concentrate on changing ourselves; nay, rather we do what we have to do so as to open ourselves to being changed by God, by our Higher Power. And, strange to say, the more I change for the better, the more the people around me seem to change. I don't have to worry about whether this particular alcoholic is going to be able to recover from his addiction or not. I have left that in the Hands of a caring God.

Many people say to me, "How difficult it must be working with alcoholics and drug addicts!" True, for me it used to be difficult, because I I am a coordinator for the planning and development of the MAC and DARC Alcohol and Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centers in Japan. My main day-to-day task is the raising of funds in order to keep our doors open. But more important is the message I have for still-suffering alcoholics and drug addicts, the 'Good News' that any person can recover from the slavery of addiction. In other words: "Now is the favorable time; this is the day of (your) salvation" (II Cor. 6:2).

In my healing ministry at MAC and DARC, I am not into the business of trying to save alcoholics and drug addicts. None of my counselors knows how to get an addicted person to stop or to control his/her drinking or using. Neither do not attempt to change people.

We are powerless over active addiction. What we can do is to have our doors open and to be there when an alcoholic, for instance, comes crying for help, when it becomes more painful for him to drink than not to drink. Deep down inside, he really has no desire to stop drinking. Indeed, even if he did (have this desire), he doesn't know how. Nor does he believe that he could continue living without this addicting crutch. We do what we can to help this broken human being.

Many come to us from mental hospitals addicted to the tranquilizers and sleeping pills that are freely dispensed to them. Some come direct from prison. Others struggle in from the streets, especially from the large city slums of Sanya in Tokyo, Kotobuki-cho in Yokohama and Kamagasaki in Osaka, addicted as much to homelessness as they are to alcohol.

Today a man may appear at the front door of Sanya MAC sick, hungry and alone. We give him protective space to recover. At one time I was playing a part of Saviour, as a pretender to the Cross'. But as I began to recover from my own addiction and recognized the futility (and insanity) of my 'savior complex', I was finally able to get off the Cross and put Jesus back on again. I now let Jesus do the saving, not me. So now, my working with addicted persons is not the burdensome task it used to be. All I really have to do is to take care of myself and, of course, to keep listening.

It is my belief that 90% of the recovery program of MAC/DARC involves LISTENING, for it is in listening that

(1) I have come to a knowledge of myself;

(2) I get the courage to become even more honest with myself and with others ("You had trouble with the police too? 50 did!")-, and

(3) I become motivated to try even harder - that is, to go to as many meetings of recovering addicts as possible, to be open and honest, to live only today, one day at a time, leaving everything in the Hands of my Higher Power, and to continue carrying the message of recovery ('salvation' actually) to still-suffering alcoholics and drug addicts (indeed 'evangelization').

With this way of life, which I have been taught by other addicted persons who were there for me when I most needed them fourteen years ago, I have come to realize that I am a worthwhile person. I've come to like myself, to love myself; and in so doing I have come to a very vivid experience (not 'understanding') that God loves me, and He loves me just as I am at this particular moment in time.

Of course, I am speaking in terms of the world-famous 12 Steps of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). From the very beginning our MAC and DARC newcomers (nakama) attend daily meetings of AA or NA (Narcotics Anonymous for drug addicts), of which there are over 600 weekly meetings all over Japan.

Without the 'aftercare' programs of AA and NA, the very existence of our MAC and DARC Centers would be meaningless. AA and NA are not religious programs; but they are spiritual programs. When AA began in America in 1935, it used the Churches and Judaism as its model. In the last 56 years AA and NA members have carried off this fellowship in such a remarkable way that now the Churches are looking. to AA and NA as a model for its own renewal.

Once again, LISTEN-

Another page in this blog is dedicated to Maryknoll Alcoholic Center. Follow this link to go there. MAC-DARC

Fr. Patrick O’Donoghue

was born and raised in Washington D.C. He has been in Mission in Japan for over 40 years. He is a professor of Comparative Religions and taught at Tsukuba University for 40 years. He also ministers to military personnel. He is currently the regional superior of the Japan region. Fr. Pat is also the editor of the Japan Mission Journal, contributes regularly to the Japan Mission Journal. Fr Pat has been promoting active for migrant workers at the Maryknoll Tokyo center House. He travels frequently to participate in workshops on interreligious dialogue and Asian theology.

Father Patrick Francis O’Donoghue was born September 13, 1924 in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., the son of Mortimer P O’Donoghue of the County Kerry and Catherine E. Lynch of Roscommon County, Ireland. Brought up in the Nation’s capital he attended St Gabriel’s School in Petworth and entered the minor seminary of St Charles in Baltimore in 1937. After six years at St. Charles where he had his initial mission contacts from talks by Fr Keller and Flinn. Ordained June 10, 1950 his first assignment was to Maryknoll Junior Seminary in Clark Summit. In 1954 he was assigned to Japan. He lived as a student mission in Kyoto and then was assigned toparish mission at Zeze, Fushimi, Kaeyama and Kujo.

Fr Patrick has dedicated his mission life to helping students and youth. In 1961 he worked at the College of Notre dame in Kyoto. He took up studies at the Catholic University in Washington during his vacation in the summer months; he received a masters in 1966 and a Doctorate in 1976 in Asian religious studies. He work his dissertation on Nichiren Buddhism. He worked for 5 years at the International Institute of Studies and Training. In 1977 Fr Pat moved to the Japanese national University in Tsukuba, in Ibaraki prefecture. He lectured on Religion and Philosophy. He taught at the university for over 40 years until he was elected as the regional superior of Japan. He is the editor of the “Japan Mission Journal” taught English at the Yoki- Bokusha and is the pastor for the International Community in Yokohama.

Fr. James Jackson

Father James Jackson lives and works at Kusatsu Catholic Church outside of Kyoto. He also serves missions stations in Nagahama and Hikone as well as several others. The Kusatsu church is a rapidly growing church with a Sunday mass attendance of 300. It is a young developing area along the largest lake in Japan. There are many migrant workers from the Philippines and Brazil who attend mass and hold special services. Fr Jim learned Spanish so he could serve the growing Spanish community. Fr Jim is very active in small group faith sharing and weekly pray groups. He enjoys boating on the lake when he has a day off.

Fr. James is also responsible for 5 other churches in the area and often travels hours by car to celebrate Eucharist. Fr James speaks Japanese, English and Spanish. He feels that the liturgy is the central force for evangelization and mission. He especially enjoys Taize liturgy.

Fr. Jose Hamel

is from French Canadian decent. He speaks English, French, Spanish and Japanese. He is currently assistance pastor at Tsu Church. Before coming to Japan he worked in Peru for over 20 years and he worked with Japanese at the L.A. Mission. His present mission is focused on migrant workers, particularly Peruvians. Fr Jose also minister to Japanese through the daily Eucharist. Fr Jose hobbies include biking, hiking and sumo.

Fr. Kevin Hanlon

Father Kevin does mission in Nara, the first capital of Japan in ancient times. He is active in youth work and interreligious dialogue based on every day life. He is on the regional council. He is also a member of the advisory board to Orbis Books. He received his doctorate from the Gregorian in Rome in Missionology.

Fr. Richard Czajkowski

Father Richard lives and works out of Holy Spirit Church in Kyoto. He also visits mission stations in the mountains. He is the priest for the Carmelite cloister which is 2 blocks from the church. The church runs a developmental challenged work center, a addictions recovery center and a male college dormitory. The Church is well known for marriages, as many couples seek out Father Richard for marriage preparation with the ceremony in the Church. Father Richard is also a member of the regional council. The church as many catechetical programs, bible discussion, Katorikku Nyumon, Final Baptismal Preparation, Post-baptismal Scripture Study, Saturday, Monthly overnight, English Conversation, Scripture, Non-Christian wedding program. Father Richard has organized and led a pilgrimage along the same path as the Japanese Martyrs were forced to march, which is over 1000 miles long. The pilgrimage group has been walking the path for years now, taking 10 to 15 kilometers per month.

Fr. Gerald Beausoleil

Father Gerard Beausoleil is doing mission in Hokkaido. He is ministering to several churches and the Benedictine sisters. He works in Muroran with a church membership of 300. There is a parish council and parish leaders have been trained to administer the sacraments. It is one of the oldest churches in Hokkaido and is registered as a pilgrimage site for the Jubilee year. Father Jerry also celebrates mass at Noboribetsu Church which has a population of 100. Father Jerry lives and works out of Higashi Muroran church. It is a newer church. Father Jerry visits the sick at hospitals and homes. He is very busy seeing to the needs of the people over a very large area.

Fr. Anthony Brodniak,

Fr Tony lives and works at the Karasaki Maryknoll Center House outside of Kyoto. He is the leader of spiritual renewal programs for the Kyoto area and holds retreats at the Center house. He also travels through Japan and Asia giving workshops and retreats. Local churches make days of retreat at the center house and the regional priests hold annual retreats. The center houses dates back be war time. During the war is was used as a prison and as a headquarters for Japanese military. Recently, the house was renovated and a new chapel was erected, "Our Lady of The Lake".

Fr. James Gorman

Father Jims is working in Nagoya. He is active in parish mission and does outreach work to the poor.

Fr. Joseph Maynard

Fr Joe is doing mission at Date Church. His Church survived the Usuzan volcano. They are now building a new church. The present church building has out grown the parish needs. Father Joe also ministers to the carmelite nuns. He is over 80 years old and still very active in evangelization.

Fr. Robert Nehrig

Father Bob is doing mission in Mie, Just south of Kyoto. His parish has a museum to the hidden christians and Japanese Christian martyrs. They have a special mission to the migrant workers.

Fr. Bryce Nishimura,

Fr. James Nishimuta,

Fr. James O’Neill

Father James O’Neill works and lives in Shizunai Catholic Church, St Peter and Paul. Shizunai parish covers 2300 square miles. There are 100 Catholics in the parish. Shizunai is a small town in a very rural area of Hokkaido used for farming and horse raising. He also visits a mission station in Urakawa. The Church has set up a day care center for mothers who work and for children who have special needs. The day care center has 60 children ages 45 months to 3 years. Father Jim is a history specialist and maintains a library on Japanese Catholic History. He has a large collection of Japanese Catholic artifacts.

Fr. Clary Witte

Father Clarence Witte was born June 19, 1910, in Richmond, Indiana, son of William and Mary Horstman Witte. He had three brothers, one of whom is deceased, and two sisters, both now deceased, and one of whom was a Maryknoll Siter and the other a Franciscan Sister. He attended St Andrew’s Parochial school an then graduated from St Meinrad Preparatory Seminary in Indiana in 1929 and entered Maryknoll in September of that year. Father Witte began his overseas mission life in Otsu, Japan, following his ordination on June 16, 1935. After two years of language study, he was named pastor of a small parish in the city of Hikone, arriving there the day after the church burned to the ground. The first wedding he preformed was the first such Catholic ceremony in the history of the city. In the pre-world war II days, all foeigners in Japan were subjected to frequent questionings and investigations. At the out break of the Second world war, Fr Witte, along with other Maryknollers, was interned by the Japanese authorities and was repatriated to the United States after seven months of internment.

In late 1942, In late 1942 Fr Witte was assigned to Guatemala as the first Maryknoller to take up missionary work in that country. He set up missions throughout the country until 1947 when he was reassigned to Japan. In 1950 he was transferred to a new parish in the Fushimi section of the city of Kyoto. He was named the second consultor to the superior general. In 1955 he was appointed Society Superior for the North Asia Region, which compromised Japan and Korea. In 1961 Fr Witte was elected as the Regional Superior of Japan. After his term he was assigned to Bolivia to work with the immigrants from Okinawa. After a short while he was transferred to the Japanese mission in Los Angeles. He returned to returned to Japan in 1976 as pastor of Infant Jesus Parish in the city of Ueno in Mie-ken. At present, he continues to serve as pastor of the Nabari Parish in the Mie-ken area of Japan.

Fr. Louis Wolken

Fr Lou is doing mission at Momayama Church in Kyoto. He is active in Catechetics. He holds bible study regularly. He teaches english using the bible. The Parish has a council and leadship that is self-sustaining.

Fr. Robert Zahn

Father Robert Zahn is the driving force behind Our Lady’s Children’a Home. Under one roof they operate two completely independent institutions: Seibo no Ie, Our Lady’s Children’s Home, is a residential insitution for the developmentally challenged children ages 6 to 18 years old. It is operated under the guidance of the Welfare Ministry and the appropriate prefectural offices. The capacity is 150 residents. The other institution is a special school, Seibo no Ie Gakuen. 99% of the 128 children in the Seibo no Ie are enrolled in our school. The aim of both the residential institution and the special school is to try to bring the children along within the limits of their capabilities to be able to work in society after graduating from the school. The Childrens home is located in Mie-ken an Industrial town known for is air pollution.

Fr. Richard Aylward

Is presently on sabbadical in the United States.

Fr. Lo Xuan Dam

Dam, of Arlington, Va. were ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 10, 2000 at 10 a.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center Seminary, Ossining, N.Y. Archbishop Francis T. Hurley, D.D. of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska presided over the ordination ceremonies.

Dam, 39, originally hails from Saigon, Vietnam, where as a child, the ravages of war created a "horrifying atmosphere." Though his parents practiced Buddhism, his mother found comfort in the rituals of the Catholic Church, converted in 1951, and baptized six of her children. As a teenager, Dam enrolled in a minor seminary run by the Salesians, but his studies were interrupted in 1975 when the Communist regime disbanded the school.

He first heard of Maryknoll in the late 1980s through Orbis Books, and joined a clandestine program of 30 underground seminarians (under the aegis of the Archdiocese of Saigon) in order to continue his theology studies. In 1991, Dam and his father came to Falls Church, Va., sponsored by two family members already living in the U.S.

"I hope my ordination will send a quiet message to many Vietnamese in this country," said Dam, born February 14, 1961, the youngest son of nine children, "who are busily pursuing the American dream of wealth and prosperity, rather than striving for the Christian dream of service to others."

Dam entered Maryknoll in 1993, and trained as a missioner in Momoyama parish, Kyoto, Japan. This year, he was ordained to the diaconate on Jan. 8 at St. Thomas of Canterbury Church in Chicago. After finishing a master’s of divinity degree at Catholic Theological Union, Dam will return to language school in Japan for six months, and continues doing parish work.

Fr. Bill Grimm,

has been assigned to the Japan region starting this January. His previous mission experience includes Japan, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Name Telephone Fax

Assenheimer, Fr. Roy 03-5685- 6129 03-5685-6128

Aylward, Fr. Richard 0594-22-2431 0594-24-4145

Beausoleil, Fr. Gerald 0143-44-3851(F)

(Noboribetsu Church) 0143-85-2726(F)

(Muroran Church) 0143-22-5496(F)

Brodniak, Fr. Anthony 0775-78-0139 0775-78-0388

Czajkowski, Fr. Richard 075-461-6802 075-461-6805

Ging, Fr. Regis 03-3261-7283

Gorman, Fr. James 05676-5-4731

Greyerbiehl, Br. Michael 0279-84-1158

Hamel, Fr. Jose 059-223-1081

Hermes, Fr. Joseph 0144-32-3291 0144-33-1022

Hanlon, Fr. Kevin 0742-43-6105 0742-44-8836

Jackson, Fr. James 077-562-3510 077-566-431cell/ 090-3825-6623

Kim, Fr. Alfonso 077-562-3510/077-566-0431

Maynard, Fr. Joseph 0142-23-2417(F)

Mylet, Fr. James 0116-82-6230 0116-82-3290

Nehrig, Fr. Robert 0592-28-2580 0592-29-2300

Nishimura, Fr. Bryce 0596-28-3885 0596-27-0525

Nishimuta, Fr. James 0144-32-4285

O’Donoghue, Fr. Patrick 03-3234-8842 03-3234-8854

O’Neill, Fr. James 01464-2-1570

Riha, Fr. Francis 0144-73-8810 0144-72-7370

Wolken, Fr. Louis 075-611-5695 075-611-5750

Zahn, Fr. Robert 0598-21-0538 0598-21-0823

Maryknoll Sisters

Tokyo 0422-22-4423 0422-20-0924

Kamakura 467-24-5556(F)

Kyoto 075-723-2344

Maryknoll Center Houses

Tokyo 03-3261-7283 03-3222-0726

Karasaki 0775-78-0139 0775-78-0388

Tomakomai 0144-32-4285

Bishop Jinushi 011-241-2785

Bishop Otsuka 075-211-6766

Bishop Nomura 052-935-2223

The Japan Mission Journal: Summer 2000 Vol. 54


Terao Toshiyoshi The Sacrament of Reconciliation and healing what it means to Japanese

Arimura Kouichi Church Statistics Re-examined

Felipe Muncada Nanzan University Sudents’ Religious Perceptions: Some Emerging Trends

Interview Opening the Way to a New Evangelization: Interview with Fr A. Okumura Ichiro

Walter Kippes Pastoral Care in Japan’s Catholic Hospitals

John T. Brinkman The Bonn Environmental Conference from a Catholic Perspective


The Japan Mission Journal: Spring 2000 Vol. 54



Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Interview with Cardinal Peter Shirayanagi Seiichi.

A year and six months after the Special Asian Synod on November 6, 1999, Pope John Paul II issued in New Delhi, India, his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation: Ecclesia in Asia. Fr. Matata interviews Cardinal Shirayanagi regarding the content of the papal document.

Jan Swyngedouw Keeping Missionary Ideals Alive

Fr. Swyngedouw, CICM is a member of the Scheut community ordained in 1960. He is currently teaching in seminaries both in Cameroon and the Philippines. In this article he examines the role of culture shock in lite of missary active. He discusses the need for cross cultural training and specific issues regarding acculturation and intercultural communication.

Inagawa Yasuaki:Fresh Wineskins for New Wine

Fr Yasuaki, a priest of the Tokyo Archdiocese ordained in 1981, teaches Canon Law at Sophia University and serves as Secretary-general of the Tokyo Archdiocese. He outlines the present situation of the Tokyo archdiocese; priests are growing older and vocations fewer, city center churches declining. A need for renewal and reconstruction.

James GormanImmigrant Workers and the Local Parish

Fr Gorman, a Maryknoll Missioner ordained in 1952, is a pastor of Yatomi in the Nagoya Diocese. He reflects on the growing number of immigrants in Japan and how immigrants have challenged the local church to be missionary.

Michael Greyerbiehl:World Conference on Religion and Peace

Br. Greyerbiehl, is a Maryknoll Brother engaged in mission in Tomakomai, Hokkaido. He is a volunteer at the Seafarers mission. He is engaged in interreligious dialogue particularily in promoting Christian meditation. He reflects on the the process of gather 2000 religious leaders from around the world for the seven world assembly of WCRP. He points out the call for all people to engage in interreligious dialogue at any level.

Kato Shinro:Piety and Nature in East-Asian Spirituality

Mr. Shinro is a Plato scholar born in 1926 and former professor of Toritsu Daigaku and Sacred Heart Women’s College. Utilizing Japanese poems, the “I Ching” and and scripture he demonstrates the unique qualities of East Asian spirituality. “It is my pleasure to hold in reverence, Heaven, Earth and Human Beings, Having as friends, Moon, Snow and Blossom.”

James H. Kroeger: Challenging Asian Mission Statistics

Fr. Kroeger, is a Maryknoll priest, a Doctor of Missiology, seminary professor in Manila and served on the general council of Maryknoll Missions. He has publish many books on Mission in Asia. He argues that, “The challenge of being a missionary church in Asia can effectively be highlighted by understanding important demographical realities.” He concludes, Asia church must be, “creative, innovative, dialogical and inculturated.”

Documents: FABC 7th Plenary Assembly Final Statement Thailand January 3, 2000.

The Japan Mission Journal: Winter 1999 Vol. 53


Sakashita Shoutaro Satori, Enlightened Understanding, and the Bible

Kikuuchi Yuzuru In the Steps of the Master in Sanya

Yuasa Makoto Homeless in Tokyo’s Shibuya Take Action by Themselves

James J. Mylet Ministering to a People on the Move

Patrick F. O’Donoghue Filipinos in Japan

Alfonso Kim Being Young

James H. Kroeger Rejoice, O Asian Church!

Documents Presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation by Paul Cardinal Shan


  1. I am trying to find information on Fr William Eggleston, my uncle. I visited him in Japan when I was stationed in Misawa from 1971 thru 1972.

  2. Hi Karen,
    I am also related to Fr. Bill and met him twice. I have information about his Irish connections and family in Boston but not a great deal about years in China and Japan. My email address is eagletonj@aol,com if you wish to contact me.
    _ John Eagleton in New York City

  3. Trying to reach Father Regis Ging. Please have him email me at This is Steve Real, son of Al and Pat Real of Oakland, CA, USA. Thank you. Domo

  4. I am trying to get in contact with Father James Jackson, who was a cherished spiritual adviser and friend to my father, the late Richard Gilman. Could you give Rev. Jackson my email address and ask him to get in touch with me? Thank you so much!

    1. Hello Priscilla, My father was also a friend of Father Jim. I see your note from three years ago. Did you ever hear from him? If so would you please share his contact information with us. Thanks, FYI see my note below.

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  6. My father, Fred Chemidlin, was a high school classmate of Father Jim Jackson. Dad was very fond of Fr. Jim and they remained friends for many years. Currently, Dad is living with one of his daughters in NJ, and is asking us to contact his good friend for him. I am hoping someone can relay my contact information so these two can reconnect once again. Gratefully yours, Beth