My name is Sora Fukuhara, a third-year student of Portuguese at Sophia University (Tokyo). I am a non-believer. My life had no relationship with religion until I attended the Asian Mission in the Philippines in February 2023.
This mission was my first contact with religion and Catholicism, but honestly I hardly understood why so many people in the world have been attracted to this religion since ancient times, since I didn’t even know what the Bible said. But I felt that there was something good in Catholic thinking for my own happiness in life, the happiness of others and peace in the world. I decided to participate in WYD 2023 to understand more.
At first I found the preparatory meetings difficult, but as they progressed, I came to appreciate the believers very much. They, regardless of the fact that I am not a believer, were very good to me. They had habits I had never known in my life, and I began to wonder how they could become such people, what kind of amazing religion Catholicism is that such respectable people believe in.
So I experienced WYD observing that aspect. I was amazed at the influence of Catholicism, as the faithful of the world, normally noisy and, frankly, not very respectful of order, all fell silent at once when the mass began and cried when they saw the Pope. But even though I couldn’t understand it, I was envious of their faith, and I thought I wanted to be able to have faith too.
With this in mind, I was watching them and I could see both the good side and the weird side, and I finally came to the conclusion that I should stop thinking with my head that I have to be able to believe, because they say that God calls when it is really time to wake up to faith, and if so, I just have to wait.
I realize that you guys have faith imbued in life, it is part of your way of living. As I am still young, I have not lived long enough to “soak it in”. For the moment I have thought that I would like to live a simple life, attentive to others, with patience, and collaboration.
I am sure that the love I have received from all of you has changed me. I have received a lot of love. So, I will do my best to live this year of exchange in Portugal with love. Thank you very much.
Sora Fukuhara. Japón