Manila, Philippines, Jul 24, 2021 / 14:30 pm (CNA).
Japanese Archbishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi of Tokyo has been named the new secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
The FABC is an association of Catholic episcopal conferences in South, Southeast, East and Central Asia, and fosters solidarity and joint responsibility for the welfare of the Church and of society in the regions.
The Japanese prelate replaced Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-Sang of Macau, following the latter’s resignation from the post beginning in July.
Last week, the archbishop issued an appeal to athletes and to visitors during the 2021 Olympic Games in Japan, asking them not to visit churches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Archbishop Kikuchi said that due to the prevailing pandemic, visitors, including athletes, “will be asked to refrain from visiting churches.”
The prelate admitted that his archdiocese had been preparing to take care of the spiritual needs of visitors during the games but “decided to cancel all these plans.”
He also asked parishes to “take care of the spiritual needs of those who come to Japan. But in today’s situation, the priority remains not to transmit the disease.”
He said that the Archdiocese of Tokyo has made a commitment to prevent the spread of infections.
“Let us remember that it is an important duty for us to protect not only our own lives but also those of all those who have received the gift of life from God,” said Archbishop Kikuchi.
The prelate was regional president of Caritas Asia from 2011 to 2019. He was also a member of FABC’s Office of Human Development.
He was born on Nov. 1, 1958, and is a professed member of the Divine Word Missionaries congregation. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 15, 1986.
He served in Ghana in Western Africa as a missionary and as a pastor before being elected as the provincial superior for his order in 1999, back in Japan.
Pope John Paul II appointed him as the Bishop of Niigata on April 29, 2004. Pope Francis appointed him Archbishop of Tokyo on Oct. 25, 2017.