A Japanese Catholic Samurai who died in the 17th century in exile, will be declared Blessed during a Mass in Osaka on Tuesday. Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to preside over the Beatification Mass of Justo Takayama Ukon.
Born into a family of landowners in 1552, Ukon converted to Christianity at the age of 12 after coming into contact with Jesuit missionaries. When Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi took power and prohibited the practice of Christianity, Ukon refused to follow the great feudal lords and abandon his faith. He lost his properties, position, social status, honor and respectability and was eventually forced into exile. With 300 other Japanese Christians he fled to Manila where, just 40 days after his arrival, he fell ill and died on Feb. 4, 1615. Pope Francis signed a decree on 21 January 2016 clearing Ukon’s way for Beatification as a martyr. CONTINUE READING