First minor basilica named for Japan

A Catholic church in the Japanese city of Nagasaki has become the first minor basilica in the country. The designation for the Oura church has been approved by Pope Francis following a request for such a title from the Japanese bishops in February. 

The importance of Oura for the nation’s Catholics lies in it being the site where Japan’s hidden Christians proclaimed themselves to a French missionary in 1865.

“The church was the scene of an event that marked a transition from an age when our faith was banned to an age when it became free to follow it,” Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki explained.