History of Catholic Motomachi Church
Catholic Motomachi Church has an old history along with YamanoteChurch in Yokohama and Ohura Church in Nagasaki. In 1860, atemporary church was built by the Paris Evangelical Missionary Societypriest MermetCachon and was dedicated to the Immaculate Conceptionof the Blessed Virgin Mary. The present church was constructed in 1924after the Hakodate Great Fire of 1921. Gothic architecture characterizesits magnificent interior, which is quite rare among cathedrals in Japan. Allthe statues including the central altar were made of wood in the Tiroldistrict of Italy (now part of Austria) and were sent to this church byPope Benedict XV.
@In the central part of the altar, there is a tabernacle, above which you can see Jesus Christ on the cross whogave his life in sacrifice. Depictions of Mother Mary and His disciple John gaze at Him from the sides of thecrucifix. gFor this reason am I loved by the Father, because I give up my life so that I may take it again.h (John,Chapter 10:17)
A The statue on the right side of the crucifix is St. Peter, to whom Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom of heavenand made him the head of church. Then when they had taken food, Jesus said to Simon Peter, gSimon, son ofJohn, is your love for me greater than the love of these others?h He said to him, gYes, Lord; you are certain ofmy love for you.h He said to him, gThen, give my lambs food.h (John, Chapter 21:15)
B The statue on the left side of the crucifix is St. Margarita, the 17th century Catholic saint, to whom Jesusmade Godfs grace manifest. This depiction is called, gSacred Heart of Jesus.h gGreater love has no man thanthis; that a man gives up his life for his friends.h (John, Chapter 15:13)
gI am the good keeper of sheep: the good keeper gives his life for the sheep.h (John, Chapter 10:11)
C The big statue on the right side is St. Francisco Xavier, who, in the early 16th century, was the first tointroduce Christianity to Japan. Since his missionary activities were mainly in India, this picture depicts the sceneof the baptism of an Indian boy. gAnd he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to everycreature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And theywent forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.Amen. h (Mark, Chapter 16: 15,16,20)
D The big statue on the left side is St. Michael, whose name means gWho is like God?h It is said that since theday of St. Francisco Xavierf s arrival in Japan was the celebration day of St. Michel, this saint became a guardianangel of Japan.
E Two pictures at the lower part of the altar depict the scenes of Abrahamfs life who believed in the one and onlyGod. In the right picture, Melchizedek, who was the priest of the Most High God, is shown bestowing a@blessingon Abraham. The bread and wine he offered at that time became a symbol of the offering of Jesus@Christ.
F The picture on the left side portrays the scene of Abraham about to offer the life of his only child to God. (Genesis, Chapter 22)
This event is similar to God the Fatherfs love as shown when He gave His only begotten Son to the world. (TheFirst Epistle of John 4:9 )
G The relief on the table in front of the altar is the Last Supper with Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples. Andhe took bread and, having given praise, he gave it to them when it had been broken, saying, gThis is my body,which is given for you: do this in memory of me.h Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, gThis is the newtestament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke, Chapter 22:19,20)
This altar is the central feature of the mass, which is conducted for the purpose of observing Jesus Christfswords and commemorating his death. Priests bestow a blessing on the bread and wine and as a pabulum(nourishment of both body and spirit). They have them together with believers in Jesus Christ.
In addition to the central altar, you can see two smaller altars on both sides of this cathedral. On the left, you cansee the statue of the gSacred Heart of Jesush, which symbolizes Christfs love. On the right, you can see thestatue of Mother Mary to whom this church was dedicated.
@@The Stations of the Cross on the wall
@@These statues are called “The Stations of the Cross”, describing a series of events starting fromthe scene of Jesusfs@being sentenced to death, up to his to rest. Some events are based on the Bible;others aretaken from old legends of the@church. The first station begins at the right side of the central altar and the last(14th) station ends at the left side.
Each@statue shows the expressive face of Jesus Christ which appeals to us and moves the believers to pray.
Catholic Hakodate Motomachi Church
Commentary on this church in English