TOKYO — A former U.S. Navy officer who served in the Pacific War and commanded a flotilla of landing craft during the invasion of Iwo Jima subsequently became a Franciscan missionary in Japan, ministering there for 55 years.
Father Bede Fitzpatrick, 91, retired in Tokyo on Aug. 1 this year. He can still recall the surge of emotion prompted by his first glimpse of the Japanese mainland in 1945, during a voyage to Sasebo Naval Base.
“I can remember a certain excitement, because this is where Xavier went,” he said. St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus, arrived in Japan in 1549 at Kagoshima, about 120 miles from Sasebo.
“I went ashore one day. There was a little...READ MORE