After my ordination I was sent to work in Japan. I have been in Tokyo for 8 years, most of the time working with Chinese Migrants. As we know, being migrants, out of their country, they would face a lot of difficulties and trials. One of my roles is to work and prepare young couples for marriage. Due to daily busy work they could not have a chance to prepare their marriage.
Today in our society one of the biggest challenges is social marriage issue. We have heard and saw so many broken families and so many of the children either without mother or father. I have realized so much pain in family ministry.
After 5 years serving the Chinese community, we were able to start a new mission in Yokohama diocese. We built up a new Chinese community where we welcome so many families and young people who are searching for God, and those who are looking forward to getting marriage. The following 2 years, in the new community (Yokohama diocese) we continuously prepared more than 40 couples to get marriage in Church. I was in charge of teaching them. At the same time, I also learnt a lot from that experience. In fact, family ministry has been so important in our mission.
I remember one catholic couple from Tokyo who got divorced and left 2 children with their mom; the elder sister was 16 years and the youngest boy 14 years. Since the father was not around, during weekends that boy would stay in our formation house where our claretian missionaries accompanied him. He was so grateful for the “new family” surrounding him. This is just one example of our mission, being with those who are most in need.
So often when the couples have family problems, they call the priest. I am usually available for marriage counselling and try to help them on their struggles.
As the immigration has been growing, last year (2019) we opened a new Chinese community in another diocese (Saitama diocese). Throughout these years I feel a need of fostering the family ministry and I am so happy that our Claretian community supports this ministry. Last year, the Government of our East Asia Delegation sent another Chinese speaking CMF (Fr. Thomas) to help me in Tokyo.
Let us always keep families and migrants in our prayers._____ John Xue, CMF (China).
MS 1 (Cf. CC 2; Dir 26.)