/ 12. March 2011 11:24
At approximately 2;46 pm on Friday, March 11, 2011 Japan time, an earthquake of approximately 8.4 on the scale erupted some 100 miles north of Tokyo. This was followed by many aftershocks and a tsunami reportedly reaching some 33 feet in places. The devastation was beyond belief. The numbers of dead and the extent of destruction will not be known for a long time. Life is completely uprooted and changed for the survivors.
The Province of St. Thomas has served in missions in Japan since the early 1950’s, with the majority of friars now being native Japanese. The friars serve in parishes in Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Nagoya and Tokyo. On Friday March 11, 2011, in the time frame of the eastern United States (Saturday, March 12 in Japan) the Regional Superior of Japan, Father Hiroyuki Shibata, O.S.A., was able to send the following e-mail to the Provincial Office in Villanova, PA:
“Thank you for your prayers. The first major earthquake hit at 14:46pm, about 9 hours ago. It was the biggest one I've ever experienced in the city of Tokyo where people are pretty used to minor quakes. All our friars are well. There seems to be no damage on the building of both formation house and Kasai parish as far as we can see, but we will have to have a close look at them. We are still feeling aftershocks. I just talked with (Rev) Peter Tetsuya in Nagoya. They were worried about us in Tokyo since telephone (landline and cellular) was not connecting well since the first quake and we could not communicate. Again, thank you for your prayers. The actual damage in the northeast part of Japan is hard to imagine. We will have to see.”
Hiroyuki Shibata, O.S.A.
We are grateful that our friars came through this disaster without injury. We ask you to join us in prayer for the people of Japan in this extremely difficult time.