Pilgrimage to Nagasaki, Day 9, Good Friday

Unlike the day before, I woke up to clear blue skies. Disgruntled at being discouraged to rent an electric car, I decided I didn’t like vehicles to begin with and I should walk the whole day. It was Good Friday, after all. That ended soon after setting off. I passed by a bus stop which noted the next bus would be coming in a few minutes. Looking up at the slope I was walking up, I decided buses weren’t so bad after all. The bus, with me as its sole passenger went up and down the hills of Shinkamigoto until I was able to see my first church of the day, Aosagaura.  My entire trip to the Goto Islands could realistically be traced to when I initially saw this church in a Tora-san movie almost 10 years ago.  I spent over an hour there, following Bishop Barron’s Stations of the Cross (which I luckily finished right before someone came in to do some vacuuming), discovering where the film was shot inside and outside the church, thinking about how the light refracted through the stained glass, reflecting on how I ended up here on Good Friday in 2024.  Perhaps purposely I watched a bus going on to my next destination pass by on the road below. But eventually I had to leave.  I walked to my next destination, Maruo Catholic Church. My first stop was the old Maruo Catholic Church, where another scene was shot of the same Tora-san film.  The former church ended up having been turned into an ossuary, so after taking a few photos outside where the film – it was a burial scene – was shot, I walked down the hill a bit to the current Maruo Church. It is a contemporary, active church.  On the whiteboard it said the Good Friday Stations of the Cross would be held at 3pm.  That was the same time as Aokata Church near my hotel. I thought about trying to get back to “my church” in time but instead enjoyed the view of Mary overlooking the sea. I walked a bit to reach a temple with a gate designed by the architect Yosuke Tetsukawa, a Buddhist who designed many of the famous churches in the Goto Islands and elsewhere in the early 20th century.  Looking at the bus schedule, I realized I could make one more church and still make it to Good Friday services.  I arrived at Oso Catholic Church right at 3pm and found the Church full with parishioners for the Good Friday Stations of the Cross.  I left my Japanese booklet in my room but I followed along as best I could. I chatted a bit with one of the parishioners afterwards, who welcomed me by saying that I had made it just in time. I caught a view of Japan’s floating petroleum reserve while walking back to the hotel. I went to the Good Friday service at Aokata. Chatting with a parishioners after the service, I discovered the easy to understand priest of the church was just dispatched there by the diocese — the church itself did not have a dedicated pastor. I went back to the hotel to get ready for my Easter Vigil trip  back to the mainland, where I would meet my wife and we would head by one of those dreaded rental cars – my wife not sharing my dislike of vehicles, to another island, Hirado.