Group urges abolishing nuclear weapons and building better world

Photo courtesy of Mike Greenlar.

HIROSHIMA, Japan (OSV News) & local submissions. On August 6, 1945, the nuclear age of weaponry was ushered in with the dropping of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, part of the Allied effort to bring about the end of World War II.

Some of the Syracuse marchers from Saint Lucy Church pictured are from left: Jane Hugo, Kathy Haley, Bob Haley and Corrine Driscoll. Photo courtesy of Mike Greenlar. On the 78th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a group of American Catholics participated in the Pilgrimage of Peace interfaith service in Japan.

In Syracuse, parishioners from St. Lucy and All Saints parishes processed on August 9 with others from the Syracuse Peace Council along the Erie Blvd. East bike path, raising awareness of the efforts for nuclear disarmament and peaceful resolution to world conflicts.

In Japan, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle and Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Pilgrimage of Peace delegation from their archdioceses participated in an interfaith prayer ceremony and a peace memorial ceremony. “It was hard to fathom that with just one bomb, this entire city along with some 140,000 people died as a result, far more than the tens of thousands gathered this morning to remember them,” Archbishop Etienne wrote on his blog about the interfaith ceremony at the Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound that was led by the Hiroshima Prefecture Federation of Religions. Since the bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, many more people have died from radiation poisoning and other illness because of the bomb, and survivors (hibakusha) still carry physical and psychological wounds, the archbishop said. “All of this was on my heart as we prayed together in this site of so much devastation, suffering and death,” he said. During the service, several Shinto priests approached the altar with branches and reeds and bowed, followed by dozens of other dignitaries and religious leaders. Archbishops Etienne and Wester read the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi as a reminder for all to be instruments of peace. The Pilgrimage of Peace seeks to establish relationships with the bishops of Japan to work toward abolition of nuclear weapons, while “expressing our heartfelt sorrow for the devastating experiences endured by their nation,” according to the official pilgrimage site.

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