By Linda Bordoni
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and President of COMECE, the Brussels-based commission representing Europe's Catholic bishops spent over two decades in Japan, first as a Jesuit novice, and then as Rector of Sophia University in Tokyo.
He has particularly poignant memories of his time in Nagasaki where, he says, the people express a deep and tangible faith:
“I love that city,” says Cardinal Hollerich, recalling that he did his Tertianship in Nagasaki for two summers in a row.
“I worked in a hospital on the floor for people who are dying. And that was for me a very important experience,” he says.
He says he came into contact there with old men and women who were dying, whose grandparents were hidden Christians in their childhood and they had passed on their deep faith to their families.
“I celebrated Mass in a room where a man was dying,” Hollerich recalls, “He was very much awake and taking part in the ceremony. And the whole family was in the corridor kneeling throughout the whole Mass”.
You cannot but feel very touched, he concludes, by the manifestation of such faith.