By Fr Barry Cairns
The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. The Easter season, which ends this year on 4 June, Pentecost Sunday, reminds us that from death comes life. An encounter with the Risen Christ can bring peace, forgiveness and reconciliation out of situations of animosity, division and the inability to forgive. Columban Fr Barry Cairns from New Zealand shares an Easter story of his parish pastoral council reaching out to forgive. He has been a Columban missionary priest in Japan since 1956.
Fifty years ago I was pastor of an 'old Christian' community in Sakita, Shimoshima, the largest of the Amakusa Islands in the far south of Japan. By 'old Christian' I mean that a Jesuit missionary, Fr Luis Almeida, founded the parish 451 years ago in 1566. Then the Tokugawa daimyo government expelled or executed all missionaries. The Amakusa community went into hiding, remaining faithful for 240 years.