Secretary General for Passionist Missions Father Caspar Caulfield, C.P. Notes on 1974 Visitation to Japan

Home / Secretary General for Passionist Missions Father Caspar Caulfield, C.P. Notes on 1974 Visitation to Japan

Summarized by Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P.


Given that this issue of the Newsletter celebrates the mission impulse of Holy Cross Province, I thought it would be of interest to summarize the travel notes Father Casper Caulfield wrote during his 1974 visit to Japan with Superior General Father Theodore Foley, C.P. Caulfield was Secretary General for Passionist Missions from 1953 to 1980.

Caulfield writes little about issues of inculturation which was a hot topic in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Instead, the notes reveal the experience of a veteran traveler who by the 1970s had crisscrossed the globe several times. Neither do we learn about the impressions of Father Foley who died in October 1974. Still these notes help us understand Passionist ministry in Japan in 1974.

Summary of Notes:

Arriving at Tokyo airport on January 31, 1974 from the Philippines, Father Caspar Caulfield, C.P. and Superior General Theodore Foley, C.P. were greeted by Fathers Matthew Vetter, C.P. and Augustine Kunii. Caulfield found the Passionist site at Tokyo to be “well appointed.” The rooms, dining area, common recreation room, and halls reflected “Japanese style.” Before entering a room, Caulfied wrote, he followed local custom. He left his shoes “outside the door,” wore slippers in the corridors, and remained in “stocking feet” in his room. A Japanese electric blanket kept him warm at night.

February 1 began with a Japanese-style morning liturgy. Caulfield was impressed. “The celebrant-vested in 3/4 Japanese length white wool vestment closed at neck with dark button, and outside stole. Sat before table-while other con-celebrants or faithful sat around table.” Caulfield found the “Morning meditative. Veneration of the Bl. Sac[rament] by bow. Preface gesture is hands before hips.” Members bowed to one another instead of offering a handshake at the kiss of peace. The large Communion host was broken up and distributed to the group in the room and the precious blood was passed around on a tray. In all, Caulfield found the liturgy, “prayerfully done.”

After an afternoon “siesta” Fathers Caulfield and Foley were led into the Tokyo subway by fourth-year Passionist Francis Uchiyama, C.P., to visit a local Japanese temple and department stores.

February 2, Saturday morning provided Fathers Caulfield, Foley, Vetter and Kunii the opportunity to visit the new Tokyo Cathedral. Their morning visit to the local Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishop was positive. They “expressed gratitude” for the Passionist presence in Tokyo. The Archbishop “proudly showed” off the new Japanese breviary; Father Vetter then shared thoughts on his participation in a local Catholic Pentecostal group. The rest of day included a visit to Chinzanso Garden and a visit to Mt. Fuji. Back in the Tokyo area, they ate dinner at a Russian restaurant and later visited a benefactor, Doctor Saka e [sic] and his family. Sunday, February 3, 1974 was a “Quiet Day.”

On February 4, 1974, Monday, Caulfield and Foley traveled on the “high speed train” to Osaka, Japan. Met by Fathers Clement Paynter, C.P. and Leonard Kosatka, C.P. they were taken to the Passionist Retreat House at Mefu outside Osaka.

February 5, 1974 began with a con-celebrated liturgy. There were six Passionists at Osaka. That Tuesday evening Caulfield wrote letters.

February 6, 1974 started with a con-celebrated liturgy. That morning, then Mission Procurator Father Francis Horack, C.P. showed Caulfield the Japanese machine system which included an automated typewriter and offset capabilities to publish Japan Jottings. Dinner that evening was at the local Passionist parish at Ikeda staffed by Father Paul Placek, C.P. Placek, wrote Caulfield, was quite enthusiastic about the “possibility and need of starting the church” in three suburban areas. To assist his needs Placek asked for a Japanese mini-bus. At the same time Placek wished to build a Religious Instruction and School Hall with a parish office.

On February 7, 1974 Caulfield and Foley were driven by Father Ronan Newbold, C.P. to visit the Passionist Nuns at Hibarigaoka where there were a total of 17 sisters, 4 from the United States and 13 from Japan. There were also two postulants and two novices. Father Foley gave a one-hour talk on “St. Paul of the Cross and the Passionist Nuns.” A tour of the facility followed. Again, Caulfield was intrigued with the architecture. In the afternoon Caulfield and Foley returned to the Passionist Mefu retreat house. Caulfield took an afternoon rest. Foley, on his own, visited the parents of Father Kunii. About 6:45 P.M. Caulfield and Foley drove to Kobe where they boarded an overnight steamer to Kysushu Island.

On February 8 they docked at mid-morning. After two more hours in a car they arrived at about noon at the Passionist Retreat House, Fukuoka, Japan where they were met by Father Denis McGowan, C.P. It was snowing.

“This Retreat House,” wrote Caulfield, “is a gem, lightsome rooms, well appointed lightsome corridors, parquet floors, lovely chapel and meeting rooms. And, is most successful as a Retreat House. A Protestant group-and a University group were due on the coming weekend.”

On February 8, Saturday at 7 A.M. they had a con-celebrated liturgy. By 9:30 A.M. they were on their way to Nagasaki to visit Father John Patrick Day, C.P who was living at the local Augustinian parish for his pastoral year. Later, Father Day led Caulfield and Foley to the Pro-Cathedral and a visit to Glover House which had been the late nineteenth century residence of an English business man. That evening the group assisted Father Day at a Japanese style mass at the home of Mr. Hamaguchi. After the mass, all joined the 17 members of the family to enjoy a sabi dinner with sliced chicken, pork, veal, fish, and potato patties. Hamaguchi, who was close to retirement, was an important member of the Cursillo Movement and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

On February 9, 1974, Sunday, Fathers Kosatka, Caulfield, Foley, and Day con-celebrated a children’s mass at 8 A.M. at the Shoroyama Catholic Church. Later, they saw the Nagasaki Cathedral and the Atomic Museum. “Saw incredible things,” wrote Caulfield, “how 25,000 died in first two minutes.” He made note of the power of the blast, that total deaths numbered 78,000 and 4,000 homes were destroyed. Caulfield reflected in detail: “Many things about Atomic Museum impressive; the blistered tiles, the blackened bodies of a mother and her child killed in railway station; the 25 passengers of a street car blown to bits and into ditch, the fused glass of a beer bottle,-the ceramic vases sheered off by heat,-the photoes [sic] of total destruction. Much of Nagasaki,” Caulfield then went on to write, “was spared because of many clefts in hillside-but everything directly exposed to the blast destroyed. Then Miss A. Bomb, the young girl in a shelter right in blast area who emerged unharmed; the fact too that 3 hrs after the blast radium dust particle fell back on city burning many helping others and, the body of the girl born of a mother exposed to radium, who was born without a brain.”

On February 11, Monday, Caulfield and Foley went back to Fukuoka where they met Father Ward Biddle, C.P., said mass, and observed the two retreat groups on site.

On February 12, 1974, after a 7 A.M. morning mass, they made their way to the airport to make their plane to go on to see the Passionists in Korea. For a while blizzard conditions in Seoul, Korea delayed their departure. Finally, around 2:30 P.M. Father McGowan was able to say goodbye, and Caulfield, Foley and Kosatka flew by Korean Air to Seoul.

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