Divine Word Father Daisuke Narui was named the new bishop of Niigata Diocese on May 31. (Photo supplied)
Divine Word Father Daisuke Narui, the priest who led the Japanese Church's relief work following the devastating earthquake and tsunami a decade ago, has been named the new bishop of Niigata Diocese.
The diocese, based in the largest port city on the west coast of Honshu island, has been without a bishop since October 2017 when Bishop Isao Kikuchi was named archbishop of Tokyo. However, Archbishop Kikuchi also continued as Niigata's apostolic administrator.
Father Narui was the secretary for justice and peace at the General Curia of the Society of the Divine Word in Rome when the Vatican announced his elevation to bishop on May 31.
The 46-year-old takes the leadership of Niigata armed with wide-ranging experience, such as leading the Church's relief work after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
Father Narui was executive director of Caritas Japan for four years until 2015 and worked with Archbishop Kikuchi, then president of Caritas Japan, to help those affected by the 9.1-magnitude earthquake and resultant tsunami.
Father Narui visited badly affected areas such as Sendai near the Fukushima nuclear plant. He also worked with parishes in Saitama Diocese to provide shelter for evacuees.
He worked with Caritas Japan from 2006, starting as its secretary.
Father Narui was born in Aichi Prefecture and joined the Divine Word Society's minor seminary in 1986. He took religious vows in 2000 and was ordained a priest in 2001.
He served as an assistant priest in Niigata until 2004 when he left for the United States to do a formation course.
He holds a bachelor's degree and a licentiate in moral theology from Nanzan University.
He has also served the Church in Japan in various capacities, including membership of the Provincial Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and of the Commission for Migrants.