Logo by Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan
The Catholic Church in Japan eagerly awaits the beatification ceremony of 188 martyrs, to be held on November 24, 2008, in Nagasaki. Already many catholic delegations from different parts of Japan have arranged organized tours. Several students and professors from Sophia University and many parishoners of St. Ignatius Church, next door, will also be going for the ceremony.
Among the 188 illustrious martyrs, there are also four Jesuits, Peter Kibe being the most well-known. In fact, the official announcement of the ceremony refers to "Peter Kibe and 187 Martyrs," giving him prominence. The other three Jesuits are the adventurous Julian Nakaura, who went to Europe in the 16th century and met Pope Gregory XIII and several royals; Diego Yuki Ryosetsu, who was ordained in Manila and excelled in erudition and education; and Nicholas Keian Fukunaga, who, as an 'ordinary' un-ordained Jesuit, managed to bear witness to the Gospel by his remarkable courage.
The stories of each one is quite moving, and you can read a brief account of their life at "All About Francis Xavier." The account is written by Fr. Fuyuki Hirabayashi, a Japanese Jesuit who was deeply involved in preparing documents related to the beatification.
A printed edition of Peter Kibe and 187 Companions, a book of 76 pages, compiled by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan and translated into English by Fr. Francis Mathy, S.J., a professional translator of several Shusaku Endo works, can be obtained from St. Ignatius Catholic Church (6-5-1 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0083; Tel: 03-3263-4584 Fax: 03 3263-4585), for a token donation.
A book on the 188 Martyrs
The Tokyo Archdiocese has prepared small booklets related to the beatification in different languages. Here is the English booklet. For versions in Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese, visit: http://www.tokyo.catholic.jp/text/diocese/oshirase/080929reppkuleaf.htm