Pope Francis appointed a Filipino missionary priest as bishop in the Japanese diocese of Sendai on Wednesday, December 8.
Father Edgar Gacutan’s nomination makes him the first Filipino to be named bishop in Japan.
Upon his appointment, the 57-year-old priest was serving as parish priest of Matsubara Catholic Church in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.
Born in Cagayan province’s Enrile town in 1964, Father Gacutan 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 three years of internship in Japan, he returned to Manila to complete his theological studies at the same seminary.
Father Gacutan was ordained 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 assistant pastor in Kongo church, Osaka from 1994 to 1997, then he joined the team ministry in Osaka for six 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.