On the way to Nagisaki
If you could make someone’s wish come true, wouldn’t you do it? And what if, in your efforts to do it, it became your wish also? What would you say? What if this wish changed you from tourist to pilgim?
BakerDioceseYouthLeadershipCamp people: Do you have this memory from Camp White Branch: coming out of your afternoon workshops and seeing 26 crosses out in the meadow that had not been there that morning? And what especially moved you about these crosses? Was it that they had belongings of your fellow campers draped over them. Andy’s tshirt, Mike’s towel, a baseball cap, a scarf, a pair of flip flops. I remember this like yesterday. I remember my eyes stung with tears at this makeshift memorial to the Nagasaki Christians who were
martyred in 1597 by the Shogun. I didn’t know anything about the event until that day. It became real to me. These Catholics believed in life and even into death that Jesus Christ was their Lord.
When I think of all the special times we shared at BDYLC over the years this one comes to mind as very precious.
Who put those crosses out in the meadow? Charlie Clupny and Andy Colvin. Charlie and a teenaged Andy who, with the assistance of the camp host collected the wood and dug the holes and planted the crosses and nailed the cross members. Andy grew up to become a marine chaplain serving in the Pacific, and I believe was even stationed Nagasaki. And Charlie made it there. It is not me who had the wish to go to Nagasaki. I thought the travel time of five hours would have been beter spent sightseeing in Kyoto. But Charlie had this wish. It was the first thing that mind when he thought of KYOTO.
And when we started planning to attend the World Parkinsons Congress in after attending the one Portland three years ago I asked Charlie where else he wanted to visit. He replied Nagasaki. It didnt matter that Nagasaki was half of Japan away. What mattered was Charlie had a wish. And because I could help make it happen, it became my wish too.
Tonight we climbed a steep hill to a memorial to these martyrs. There we met a Japanese woman named Hisako who now lives in Seattle. She told us how the Christians were persecuted, and they went underground and hid a very vibrant Christian community for 200 years. We spent an hour with this Japanese woman and felt like best friends; friendship initiated because Charlie had a wish. We stepped away from tourist mode and became like this