June 19, 2024

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Japanese cardinal reveals Vatican probe into ‘miracles’ for Blessed Takayama Ukon’s sainthood

A JAPANESE cardinal disclosed on Thursday in Manila that the Vatican has been investigating ‘miracles’ that could lead to the canonization of a 17th-century Catholic Samurai and martyr.

Cardinal Thomas Aquinas Manyo Maeda of Osaka did not provide further details but expressed hope that the investigation regarding the cause of Blessed Takayama Ukon will be completed soon.

“We pray that the investigation of Ukon’s miracles will be completed and approved at least within the next year or two,” Maeda said.

“We hope that we can pray and work together with the people of the Archdiocese of Manila, especially with the archbishop of Manila,” he said.

The 74-year-old spoke after a Mass presided over by Cardinal Jose Advincula at the Manila Cathedral, commemorating the 409th anniversary of Ukon’s arrival in the country.

Maeda was on a pilgrimage with 30 Japanese pilgrims, retracing the footsteps of the martyr in Manila.

In 1614, Ukon and 350 Catholics were exiled to Manila due to the Edo Shogunate’s ban on Christianity. He died in Intramuros after only 44 days, reportedly due to “a tropical ailment”.

He was initially proposed for sainthood by the Manila archdiocese in 1634, becoming the Philippine Church’s first “Servant of God.”

Mr. Ernesto de Pedro, an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Graduate School, was commissioned to study the cause after the petition for Takayama’s beatification was revived in 1986.

To ensure that the movement had firm foundations, he established the Lord Justus Takayama Professional Chair in Philippine-Japanese Studies at UST on Feb. 4, 1989.

In 2013, Japan’s Catholic bishops submitted a lengthy 400-page application to the Vatican for Ukon’s beatification as a martyr, emphasizing his abandonment of warlord status and sacrifice for his faith.

Ukon’s journey to canonization advanced when Pope Francis approved the decree of his martyrdom on Jan. 22, 2016. He was beatified during a Mass in Osaka on Feb. 7, 2017.

In 2018, the Manila City Council passed a resolution declaring December 21, every year, as “Blessed Takayama Ukon Day” in the nation’s capital.

The sainthood cause of Blessed Takayama Ukon is being promoted by several Catholic movements in various countries, among them the Manila-based “Prayer Warriors of Blessed Takayama”.