I know a Japanese person who is interested in the Catholic faith who plans to attend Mass despite not knowing anything about it. I think this person would greatly benefit from a summary explaining what it is and why it is done before attending. What should be said?

Please keep in mind that, generally speaking, the Japanese know nothing about Christianity.

  • This is an English language site and the Stack Exchange review process from voting on answers to moderation all relies on other English speakers. Asking for other language content is outside the scope of the site. You can figure out what you need to know and do the translation yourself (or find another source for that).
    – Caleb
    Dec 29, 2017 at 14:01
  • To clarify, your friend is merely "attending", not "partaking"? Catholic religion requires one to make confession of one's sins to their duly ordained priest before taking communion, else the penalty may apply. One must be in a state of grace beforehand, but not partakings as to "get there" somehow. So, you may want to start there. catholic.com/tract/who-can-receive-communion
    – SLM
    Dec 30, 2017 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


Here is the answer I gave to the Japanese person interested in Christianity who said she would be attending Mass tomorrow. Please pray for us.


There is one being who created our reality. We call this being 'God': Because we think there is no limitation to this being, there is only one god, not multiple gods. Lacking any limitation, God is perfectly happy, but chose to create us so that we could be happy, too.


Mankind is comprised of multiple individuals but all share one human nature, which includes a body and a spirit. This nature became corrupted when the first humans chose to rebel against God. Consequently humans became mortal, suffer, and die. God chose to save them by restoring human nature in the following way: God became a man named Jesus in Israel about 2000 years ago. Jesus has both a human nature (Jesus is human) and a divine nature (Jesus is God). Jesus lived a life without any rebellion against God; he lived a life without any corruption.


Heaven, i.e. life with God, is a far better and more powerful place than Earth. It is both a reward and a privilege. Therefore we must be tested to ensure that we are able to take on the greater responsibility and delight of life there. For this reason we are tested with suffering. Jesus was also tested by suffering innocently, and demonstrated His obedience to God and union with God by choosing to allow Himself to suffer a death sentence from the Roman Empire.


There are multiple reasons why Jesus died. Here are two reasons. Because this death sentence was suffered innocently by God Himself, the spiritual consequence of evil being death was overcome. Hence through Jesus we can live in heaven even after we have done evil. Secondly, Jesus chose to suffer this death to encourage us in our suffering. He shows us that although we don't always understand why we suffer, the end result will be worth it.


Consequently, if we stop rebelling against God and unite ourselves to Jesus and partake of his natures, we may share in the benefits of a pure human nature and our spirits and bodies will survive death and live with God in perfect happiness. This life in heaven will be far better than our life on Earth because we will be united to God.


To unite ourselves with Jesus' pure human nature and God's perfect divine nature, we must stop doing evil and instead do good and be Baptized so that God will live with our spirit. We must also eat Jesus' Body under the appearance of bread so that our body may be included in life in heaven. We also unite our suffering with Jesus' suffering so that God may work good out of the evil we experience.


The Mass enables us to do all this: At the Mass we hear from the messages God gave to us over time (collected in the Bible) to encourage us to stop doing evil and do good. The priest also lectures us to show us how to apply these messages to our daily lives. At the second part of the Mass God makes Jesus' death present to us this day so that we may combine our suffering with Jesus' so that God may do good with it. We eat Jesus' body as He commanded so that our bodies will be included later in heaven. At the Mass we also ask God and previous Christians in heaven to help us solve our problems here on Earth. We also thank God for all the good we experienced the past week. We praise God because it is the respect due to Him, singing is fun, and praising God improves our mental health.

このミサは私たちにこのすべてをすることを可能にします:ミサの時に、悪をやって停止し、善を行うために、神様が私たちに与えたメッセージ(聖書で収集された)を聴きます。司祭はまた、これらのメッセージを私たちの日常生活に適用する方法を教えて下さいます。ミサの第二部では、神様がこの善を行うために、私たちの苦しみをイエスと組み合わせることができるように、イエスの死が今日私たちに提示します。私たちは、私たちの体が後で天に含まれるように、彼が命じたようにイエスの体を食べます。 ミサでは、地球上の私たちの問題を解決するのを手助けするために、神様と以前のキリスト教徒にも尋ねます。 私たちはまた、過去1週間に経験したすべての良いことに神に感謝します。 神様が敬意を表し、歌が楽しく、神様を賛美することが私たちの精神的健康を向上させるので、私たちは神様を賛美します。


You can explain it as a community celebration in the form of a dinner

It is broken into various parts that can be explained in easy to access terms

  1. Introductory Rite

    • Entrance Song or Antiphon, Greeting:
      We have arrived in God's house, and we enter hearing nice music and are greeted by our host, the Celebrant. (Priest/Bishop).

    • Penitential Rite, Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy) Gloria (Glory to God), Opening Prayer:
      We establish that we are all equals here (spiritually) by honestly admitting that we are imperfect, that we ask our God to be merciful, and we join into a communal expression of God's most excellent being. The underlying theme is "we are happy to be here, and we are all in this together." Our host leads us in an opening prayer with the aim of getting us all on the same page: being open (in our hearts) to God's blessings.

  1. Liturgy of the Word

    • First Reading, Responsorial Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation (Alleluia), Gospel Proclamation (Reading the Word):

      We share the Holy Scriptures, which to us is the Word of God

    • Homily
      Our host shares some wisdom/insights/inspiration based on the Holy Scripture just shared

    • Silence, Profession of Faith (Nicene Creed)

      We contemplate for a bit on what our host has said, and then as a community reaffirm what we believe

    • General Intercessions (Prayer of the Faithful)

      We pray together.

    • Offertory Collection, Offertory Procession, Offertory Procession

      We contribute to the well being of our (spiritual) community so that we always have a place to worship together.

  1. Liturgy of the Eucharist

    • Preparation of the Gifts (Presentation), Eucharistic Prayer, Memorial Acclamation, Thanksgiving, Offering and Intercessions Doxology and the Great Amen:
      Our host leads us into the deeper spiritual elements of our faith and worship, to include the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of our Savior. (It's a dinner, see the lead in). The Great Amen signifies that the faithful believe, which is an important element to full participation in the dinner celebration.

    • Communion Rite: The Lord's Prayer, Rite of Peace, Fraction Rite - Breaking of the Bread, Commingling, Agnus Dei:

      We recite a special Prayer Jesus gave to us, we offer each other peace, and our host prepares the meal. We communally acknowledge that Jesus takes away our sins.

    • Personal Prayer

      We prepare ourselves spiritually to receive Him.

    • Communion We receive him, which is the dinner mentioned above, so that we may be spiritually nourished. (Lord, I am not worthy ... and my soul shall be healed)

    • Communion Song, Silent Prayer, Ablution

      We hear an inspirational song while we pray and have a spiritual moment, meanwhile our host cleans up after the dinner and reverently places the Host back in the Tabernacle, a sacred place.

    • Prayer after Communion

      We pray together and end the dinner on a positive note before we leave.

"Go forth, glorifying the Lord by your lives."

How you may wish to render that in Japanese is up to you, I have no competence in that language.

  • This answer assumes far too much Christian heritage and understanding. For example, you simply declare that eating a tiny bread wafer is a "meal" or "dinner". In fact you are assuming the reader understands Jesus' Last Supper. The Japanese know nothing, and for example would wonder why everyone bows when the priest holds up a piece of bread. My goal is to provide background context and explain what is actually happening at the Mass. Your answer instead assumes all this background context and summarizes for Christians what happens with a certain theological interpretation (calling it a dinner). Dec 30, 2017 at 1:28
  • Trying to make that which is complex simple is not easy. If you go too reductionist, you risk losing the message. I've been to Japan, they understand "spiritual" very well. Shinto is a very spiritual belief system. Dec 30, 2017 at 3:27

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