Pope Appoints First Filipino Bishop in Japan

Fr. Edgar Gacutan, Priest for Congregatio Immaculate Cordis Mariae (CICM) or Congregation of Immaculate Heart of Mary

Filipino Bishop
Fr. Edgar Gacutan, CICM, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new bishop of the Diocese of Sendai in Japan on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. PHOTO FROM CICM

Pope Francis on Wednesday appointed a Filipino missionary priest as bishop in the Japanese Diocese of Sendai, reported CBCP News.

Fr. Edgar Gacutan’s nomination makes him the first Filipino to be named bishop in Japan.

Upon his appointment, the 57-year-old was serving as parish priest of Matsubara Catholic Church, located in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.

Born in Cagayan province’s Enrile town in 1964, he studied Philosophy at St. Louis University in Baguio City from 1981 to 1985 and Theology at Maryhill School of Theology in Manila from 1986 to 1989.

In February 1990, he was transferred to Japan as a seminary student.

After 3 years of internship in Japan, he returned to Manila to complete his theological studies at the same seminary.

Gacutan was ordained a priest for the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) or the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1994.

A month after his ordination, he was sent back to Japan, where he served as an assistant pastor in Kongo church, Osaka from 1994 to 1997, then joined the team ministry in Osaka for 6 years until 2003.

In 2004, he was appointed superior of the Japanese CICM Province and served until 2012.

Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku Region and one of Japan’s 15 biggest cities with roughly one million inhabitants.

The bishop-elect is not new to Sendai. From 2014 to 2017, he was assigned to the area and worked for the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

The Diocese of Sendai is centered in the city of Sendai. It is within the ecclesiastical province of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo in Japan.

Sendai is the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, the largest city in the Tōhoku region, and the second-largest city north of Tokyo. As of 1 June 2020, the city had a population of 1,091,407 in 525,828 households and is one of Japan’s 20 designated cities. The city was founded in 1600 by the daimyō Date Masamune. It is nicknamed the City of Trees.