before retiring at a venerable age, the diocesan Bishop of Niigata, Bishop John Shojiro Ito, in consultation with the Holy See, wrote a pastoral letter in which he recognized as being authentically of the Mother of God, the extraordinary series of events that had taken place from 1973 to 1981 in a little lay convent within his diocese, at Akita, Japan. Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in June 1988, approved the Akita events as "reliable and worthy of belief." In fact the Philippine ambassador to the Vatican, in 1998 spoke to Cardinal Ratzinger about Akita and the Cardinal: "personally confirmed to me that these two messages of Fatima and Akita are essentially the same." Hence in Akita we are dealing with a Church approved intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary as sure in this respect as Lourdes, La Salette, or Fatima.
Only a few Catholics know of Our Lady of Akita but the message, like that of Fatima, is a specific warning of worldwide chastisem themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their Confreres. The Church and altars will be vandalized. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.
"The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them."
In his pastoral letter approving the events of Akita as supernatural, the Bishop of Niigata said: "After the inquiries conducted up to the present day, one cannot deny the supernatural character of a series of unexplainable events relative to the statue of the Virgin honored at Akita (Diocese of Niigata). Consequently I authorize that all of the diocese entrusted to me venerate the Holy Mother of Akita."
Concerning the messages, His Excellency said: "As for the content of the messages received, it is no way contrary to Catholic doctrine or to good morals. When one thinks of the actual state of the world, the warning seems to correspond to it in many points." His Excellency explained that he had taken eight years to give this judgment because of the importance and the responsibility in question. "The Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith has given me directives in this sense," the Bishop said, "that only the bishop of the diocese in question has the power to recognize an event of this kind."
The events of Akita have been confirmed by definite miracles, two of which are cited by the Bishop in his pastoral letter. While the warning given by Our Lady at Akita is terrible, the message, as the Bishop points out, is basically a repetition of the Message of Fatima. Our Lady stressed the importance of praying the Rosary, and above all of accepting from God whatever He may send in the course of each day . . . whatever suffering . . . and to offer it up in reparation for so many sins committed throughout the world at this time. Our Lady begged especially for prayers for bishops, priests, and religious, and for reparation before the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lady said: "I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering to the Father, together with all the victim souls who console Him, the sufferings endured by the Son on the Cross, by His blood and by His very loving Soul. Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifices can appease the anger of the Father."
To the little religious community where Our Lady gave the messages, she asked that it "live in poverty, sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and the outrages of so many men."
The apparitions and events in Akita, Japan, center around a three foot high statue of Our Lady with a Japanese face in the chapel of the Eucharistic Handmaids of the Sacred Heart. These supernatural happenings also involve Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, one of the Sisters in the convent, to whom Our Lady gave her messages. Sister had been very ill, requiring about 20 operations. When the apparitions began, she was nearly deaf. On June 12, 1973, when she opened the tabernacle for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a very strong light came from it and filled the entire chapel. This happened for three days. When Sister asked the other Sisters if they had seen anything out of the ordinary, they said no.
This strong light also came from the tabernacle on the feast of Corpus Christi. When Sr. Sasagawa told the Bishop of Akita (who was visiting the convent on the feast) of this, he advised her to keep it in her heart. On the Vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart that same year, Sr. Sasagawa's guardian angel appeared to her and asked her to pray the Fatima decade prayer* after each decade of the Rosary. In 1973 this prayer was not well known in Japan and Sister had trouble understanding it, but the Sisters began to recite the prayer and it has now spread throughout Japan. (* O my Jesus, forgive us our sins: save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most need.)
On the same occasion as the apparition of her guardian angel, a wound in the form of a cross appeared in the hollow of Sr. Sasagawa's left hand and began to bleed. The bleeding ended on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following Friday, the wound bled and stopped the next day. This continued for a month. Sister's guardian angel later spoke to her in the chapel. Although nearly deaf, she heard the angel saying: "Pray not only for yourself, but for the people of all nations. The world today is wounding the Sacred Heart of Jesus through so much sin and ingratitude." After hearing this, Sister heard a voice come from the statue in the chapel: "My daughter, you obeyed me very well; you have renounced everything. This deafness is a great suffering for you. Have patience; you will be healed. It is a trial. Pray in reparation for all people. Pray much for the Holy Father, for the bishops and the priests."
On July 6, 1973, a bleeding wound appeared on the right hand of the statue of Our Lady in the chapel. On other days, the face of the statue bled. Sister's guardian angel told her: "This flowing of blood is significant. It will be shed for the conversion of men and in reparation for sins. To the devotion to the Sacred Heart add the devotion to the Precious Blood." Other messages followed. About a month after seeing the wound in the right hand of Our Lady's statue, Sr. Sasagawa heard: "My daughter, if you love Our Lord, listen to me. Many pole world; a punishment the likes of which has never happened before. Many people will perish. Pray the Rosary often. Only I can prevent the disaster. Whoever entrusts themselves to me will be saved." The statue continued to weep and other messages followed. Pilgrims came and many received answers to their prayers. Then, in 1981, Theresa Chon, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer, was miraculously healed through the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. This healing was well documented by Fr. Joseph Oh of Seoul, South Korea.
In his pastoral letter, Bishop Ito said that it would have been difficult to believe in a message from Our Lady that is so terrible, unless there was overwhelming proof that it was indeed from her. But he points out that the terrible chastisement of which Our Lady speaks is on the condition: "If men do not repent and do not better themselves . . ." The Bishop added it is a serious warning, while at the same time one perceives in it the maternal love oiolations of the first three Commandments. The First Commandment: "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me." In summary, we find in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X and the Baltimore Catechism, that the First Commandment forbids idolatry, superstition, spiritism, tempting God, sacrilege and sins against the Faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism and by "taking part in non-Catholic worship." By taking part in non-Catholic worship! This, indeed, is a powerful indictment against the present ecumenical practice that has swept through and disfigured the Church since the Second Vatican Council.
The Second Commandment forbids using the Lord's Name in vain (blasphemy). If we consult the Catechism of the Council of Trent's treatment of the Second Commandment, it teaches that those who support heresy, and "distort the Sacred Scriptures from their genuine and true meaning," are guilty of sins against the Second Commandment. Thus, those who distort the message of Scripture, namely Protestants, are in the objective order, guilty of this sin, because their perversion of Sacred Scripture is irreverence to the Holy Word of God.
The Third Commandment deals with keeping holy the Sabbath Day. It is evident for all to see that Sunday has become a day of business as usual. People doing unnecessary work, places of business opened with people shopping without any regard to the Third Commandment which strictly forbids all unnecessary work and doing business on Sunday.
The Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. We see a blatant disregard for this Commandment in the slaughter of over 3500 babies every day by abortion with very, very few doing anything to bring about an end to this human carnage.
Now we come to the Sixth Commandment, which violation causes more souls to go to Hell than any of the other Ten Commandments. The Sixth Commandment is transgressed in some of the following ways: fornication, homosexuality or sodomy (Rom. 1:27) (2nd Peter 2:6) (St. Jude 1:7), and the separation of spouses ("divorce") which many times leads to adultery especially if either of the two spouses remarry (Mark 10:11, 12) (Matt. 19:6) (1 Cor. 7:10,11). We see the Sixth Commandment horribly violated by immodest dress. Modesty and purity have practically vanished from our society (1 Tim.2:9-10).
This impending chastisement can be averted if enough people pray the Rosary daily and do penance which Our Lady requested at Fatima in 1917. We urge you to order large quantities of this brochure for circulation at Catholic Churches.
The Akita Prayer
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Thy Heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father pleading for the coming of his Kingdom. Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as Thou wilt for the glory of the Father and salvation of souls. Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Thine Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Thy special child. Amen