Cardinal Quevedo is special papal envoy | Global News

Cardinal Quevedo is special papal envoy

/ 05:38 AM March 03, 2015


Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo. Photo courtesy of CBCP News

MANILA, Philippines–Pope Francis has appointed Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo to be his special envoy to the 150th anniversary celebration of the discovery of the “Hidden Christians of Japan” in Nagasaki next week.

This according to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) which said through its official news service, CBCP News, that Quevedo will be flying to Japan to represent the Pope on March 14-17.


The Mindanao-based cardinal’s assignment was made official during Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in January, CBCP News quoted the Vatican Information Service as reporting.


Jesuit missionaries, led by St. Francis Xavier, were the first Christians to arrive in Japan in the 1650s bringing Catholicism to the country.

Franciscan missionaries followed by the end of the 17th century but they endured persecution when the Japanese authorities prohibited Christianity, executing missionaries and converts in Nagasaki, including Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila, the first Filipino canonized a saint in October 1987.

The persecution of Christians forced the faithful to practice their beliefs underground. “Hidden Christians” is “Kakure Kirishitan” in Japanese. Freedom of religion in the country was promulgated only after the Meiji Restoration in 1873.

Currently, Christians account for less than one percent of the Japanese population.

“There were many martyrs, members of the clergy were expelled and thousands of people were killed. Not a single priest was left in Japan… The community then went underground, keeping the faith and praying in hiding,” Pope Francis had said, referring to the Hidden Christians of Japan.

The Pope added that the Church survived in Japan by the grace of baptism.


“When a Japanese child was born, the father or the mother baptized him because we can all baptize. When, after about two and a half centuries—250 years later—the missionaries returned to Japan, thousands of Christians came out of hiding and the Church flourished,” he said.–Jocelyn R. Uy

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TAGS: Catholic Church, CBCP, Japan, Orlando Quevedo, Pope Francis, Religion

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