7th February 2021

A friend of mine from college in Rome has just been made an Archbishop, not of a particular place but so that he can go off to be the Papal Nuncio (ambassador) to small country in Africa. If you are not archbishop for a city or region but for administrative reasons they give you the title of a long lost diocese. There are lots of these, one or two now sunk off the English coast. If it ever happened to me (very unlikely) I rather fancied Bishop of the Great Oasis, which was a diocese centuries ago somewhere in north Africa. Yesterday was the feast of St. Paul Miki and his companions who were Japanese martyrs, often Jesuits, back in the late 16th early 17th centuries. Nagasaki is still the main Catholic centre even after that persecution and then I believe the second atom bomb in 1945 exploded over the cathedral. Their story has been covered in a number in films and series quite recently, all taking a different approach. What amazes me is the missionaries courage, the effect they had on the local people, and how quickly those who became Christians, even after quite a short while, became faithful enough to die for their belief in Christ (some of course didn’t).

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