Vatican City (Fides Service) - The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has, 24 April 2004, accepted the renunciation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Niigata (Japan), presented by Bishop Francis Keiichi Sato, in conformity with the Code of Canon Law al can. 401 § 1.
The Holy Father has appointed, 24 April 2004, Bishop of Niigata (Japan), Rev. Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi, provincial Superior of the Divine Word Missionaries in Japan.
The Bishop elect was born 1 November 1958 in the prefecture of Iwate, diocese of Sendai. He studied in Japan. He made his perpetual profession as a member of the Society of the Missionaries of the Divine Word in March 1985 and was ordained a priest in 1986. He completed his studies at Sacred Heart Spiritual Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He has since been: 1986-1992: Missionary in the dioceses of di Accra and Koforidua in Ghana; 1993-1994: Formator and vice-prefect of postulants of his order in Japan and vocations director for the Society; 1994-1999: provincial councillor of the Divine Word Society. Since 1994: teacher at Nanzan University and member of the Japanese Bishops Conference’s Committee for International Aid.
Since 1996 Co-ordinator of the Divine Word Justice and Peace Office for Asia and the Pacific. Since 1998: member of Caritas Japan Bishops’ Conference delegate for international meetings. Since 1999: Divine Word Provincial Superior in Japan (second term 2002). Executive director of Caritas Japan. Member of the committee for ongoing formation for the clergy in Nagoya diocese.
Niigata diocese (1962), with the dioceses of Saitama, Sapporo, Sendai, Yokohama, is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Tokyo. It has an area of 33.517 sq. km., and a population of 4,893,000 including 7,549 Catholics gathered in 37 parishes, looked after by 34 priests (15 diocesan and 19 religious), 1 seminarian 1 permanent deacon, 1 Brother, 99 Sisters. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 15/5/2004; Righe 22, Parole 288)