Live flowers raised by the local parishioners
In the joy of presenting one’s lovingly grown flowers to God, one can see the important regard in which Kashiragashima church is held.
“A church is a house presented to God. Therefore we want to keep it beautiful at all times.” Matsui Yoshiki, 76 years old, grows the flowers that he decorates the altar with himself. “I grow flowers that can be used all year round. It’s my biggest enjoyment these days.” Mr. Matsui says, with a beaming smile on his face. “When I was a naughty kid, I wrote graffiti on the plaster walls and was told off terribly by my parents. Because both my mother and father were connected to the church’s construction, they were incredibly attached to it. I heard that to place even a single stone took 4 to 6 people.” The people of Kashiragashima’s livelihoods are split between farming and fishing. When Mr. Matsui graduated from junior high school, he became a fisherman. Retiring after 40 long years at sea, he now grows his flowers as part of a parish where only 9 houses and 14 parishioners remain. “It’s a great pleasure for me to grow flowers to present to God.” Day in, day out, Mr. Matsui’s flowers are brightening Kashiragashima Church, and no doubt brightening the hearts of those who visit it.