Archbishop Peter Michiaki Nakamura succeeds retired Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami
Archbishop-elect Peter Michiaki Nakamura of Nagasaki (Photo: UCAN Directory)
Pope Francis appointed Japanese Bishop Peter Michiaki Nakamura as archbishop of Nagasaki, where he has been auxiliary bishop for the past three years.
The Vatican announced the appointment on Dec. 28, after accepting the resignation of Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, which he offered upon reaching the canonical retirement age of 75.
The archdiocese Nagasaki is considered an important unit of the Church in Japan because of its strong Catholic presence and historical importance.
Archbishop Takami has been a known advocate of peace and a campaigner against nuclear weapons. In 2010, during a speech at the United Nations, he called the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II “a total denial of human dignity.”
He served Nagasaki Archdiocese as auxiliary bishop from 2002 to 2003 and as archbishop since 2003. He also headed the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan for a term since 2016.
In a pastoral letter, Archbishop Takami prayed for his successor and the faithful in Nagasaki and requested prayers for himself.
“Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Lord's blessing on the health and work of Archbishop Michiaki Nakamura, and for the growth and development of the Church community in Nagasaki, with the intercession of Mary. I would be very grateful if you would also like to pray for me as well,” the retired prelate wrote.
Archbishop Nakamura was born on March 21, 1962, in Saikai-city of Nagasaki prefecture. He attended Nagasaki Minor Seminary and then studied philosophy and theology at San Sulpizio Major Seminary in Fukuoka.He later studied at the Alfonsian Academy in Rome and obtained a licentiate in moral theology in 1994. He was ordained a priest on March 19, 1988.
Following ordination, he served as a formator in the Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of Nagasaki (1988-1989); vicar in the parish of Nakamachi (1989-1991); formator in the Minor Seminary (1994-1999); vicar in the Cathedral of Urakami (1999-2002); parish priest of Togitsu (2002-2005); formator in the Major Seminary in Fukuoka (2005-2007); parish priest of Uematsu (2007-2014).
He also taught moral theology at the Major Seminaries of Fukuoka and Tokyo.
Pope Francis appointed him auxiliary bishop of Nagasaki in 2019.
Christians are a minuscule minority in Japan, accounting for about one million in an estimated population of 126 million. About 90 percent of Japanese follow different forms of Buddhism.
However, Nagasaki has some 67,000 Catholics, forming 4.5 percent of the city's some 1.5 million people.
Japan is considered one of the most secularized nations in the world and has all major Christian denominations.
Church data in 2019 showed there were some 540,496 Catholics spread across 16 dioceses including three archdioceses in Japan.
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