Greetings from Our Friar in Japan


Friar Nicholas Swiatek, OFM Conv, and his Kindergarten teachers at the End of Year party.

Fr. Nicholas Swiatek, OFM Conv. is currently serving the parishioners of Our lady of the Assumption, the Akabane Catholic Church, in Kita-ku, Tokyo-to, Japan. He recently send a “Happy Easter” letter to one of our friars, with a few updates on his ministry there. He speaks of his pastoral duties, such as marriage preparation, Religious Education classes and talks such as the Saint of the Month presentations to the women’s club, a talk on the Year of Mercy, St. Maximilian’s origination of the Militia of the Immaculata, as well as writing articles for the parish newspaper. He spoke of the March 11th, 5th Anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Fukushima area of Japan and how there is till a very long road to recovery for the people of the area. Anniversaries are very important to the Japanese people and often the news is filled with memorials and Buddhist prayer services or the Prime Minister offering perspective, speaking of politics and current events. US political election drama is often in the news, as well but mostly it is news of the severe and sometimes tragic weather of the area. He is strengthened by the presence of about 15 “hardy parishioners” at the 6:30 a.m. Mass each day, which he concludes with the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer of the Church before heading to his breakfast. Another source of great joy are the students. He has 45 kindergartners headed to 1st grade on April 8th with 125 of them moving onto the next level of kindergarten. Periodically he gets to teach the older students some English, as well. He says that Tokyo is gearing up for the 2020 Olympics with lots of preparations for logistics as well as for the athletes. He finds it interesting that they are refurbishing many old buildings and the landscape is always changing.
At the parish Easter Vigil, they celebrated 15 baptisms and on Easter Sunday, 8 children received their First Eucharist. Just as we on the East Coast celebrate the revelry that surrounds the Springtime National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., (commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington), so do the people of Tokyo look forward to each April and not only those beautiful blossoms but all of the bounty of their gardens. It is a great joy for Friar Nicholas to see his garden blossoming bounty of sweet peas, leeks and leaf lettuce. He will come visit the US in May and extends his thanks to all of his confreres who remember him on his Names Day. Prayers are always helpful and forever needed.
Please keep Friar Nicholas and all of our friars serving over seas, in your continued prayers.