(Picture above: Bishop Marcelino Tani Daiji, of Saitama Diocese (centre), with Fr. Jose Alirio Gutierrez (2nd from right)
After more than 10 years since the Scalabrinians began to think of working in Japan, Fr. Olmes Milani, Brazilian, working at the AOS, in Santos, S.P. Brazil, and Fr. Restituto Ogsimer, Filipino, working in Australia, finally arrived in Tokyo on 12 September 2003.
Hosted by the Franciscan at the Saint Joseph Friary, in Roppongi, immediately they attended Japanese Language classes during weekdays and visiting communities with migrants on weekends.
In compliance with the policy of the Archdiocese of Tokyo regarding foreign missionaries, on May 2004, Fr. Olmes Milani moved to Meguro Church (a former Benedictine monastery) in Shinagawa, and Fr. Restituto Ogsimer to Asakusa Parish, to be fully immersed with the local church and to have the opportunity to practice the language.
The aim of the SFC Province was to establish a Scalabrinian residence. After several meetings with the Archbishop Peter Okada Takeo and his staff, the 3rd floor of Meguro Church, where Fr. Olmes was already living, became our official residence. Effective Easter of 2006, Fr. Olmes was appointed Director of CTIC (Catholic Tokyo International Centre) Meguro office and Fr. Restituto of CTIC Chiba office. Fr. Olmes also ministers for Brazilian migrants in Saitama Diocese through an internal arrangement with the two bishops of both Dioceses.
Since the beginning of our presence in Japan, the provincial administration had in mind to send a third missionary to Japan. After dialogue with the Bishop Marcelino Tani Daiji, of Saitama Diocese, it was decided that Fr. Jose Alirio Gutierrez, Colombian, would be employed by the diocese but residing in Tokyo. Fr. Jose arrived on 2 January 2007. Currently he is still a fulltime Japanese language student and at the same time serving some Spanish speaking communities in the Diocese of Saitama.
Picture above: Fr Restituto Ogsimer with evacuees from Fukushima.
Picture above: Fr Olmes Milani with youth group.
For more information on the history and presence of the Scalabrinians in Japan see our pages on Migration Services in the 'What We Do' section.