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2012 Peace Program in Hiroshima September 7th, 2012This report of the Commemoration of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima was submitted by Brad Rozairo OMI in August.
The atomic bomb anniversary was solemnly remembered in Hiroshima. Every year the host diocese of Hiroshima conducts a series of programs both at the memorial cathedral and in other places like the peace memorial park. I was there to witness some of the events on Aug. 5th & 6th.
The program proper began on 5th in the afternoon with a symposium on the prospect of ending nuclear generation. Bishop Tani, the head of the Commission for Justice and Peace, was the main speaker. The symposium also featured comments from a Korean resident of Japan who survived the bomb and from mothers who had been forced to flee Fukushima due to last year’s nuclear accident.
In the evening around 500 people joined the peace march. We marched up the main street from Hiroshima peace memorial park to the memorial cathedral. This year I noticed during the march there was a group of noisy pro-nuclear activists who were trying to make their voices heard. But that did not disturb the peace march. It was good to see the youth from different dioceses with banners and placards that read “No to nuclear energy”, “World peace” etc. joining the procession. Some had peace messages imprinted on their T-shirts! Some young men carrying guitars invited everyone to join them sing peace songs in a loud voice. (I think we were noisier than the pro-nuclear activists!). For me to join the peace march and to get soaked into that atmosphere itself was an experience. After the peace march reached the cathedral, a mass for peace was celebrated. The main celebrant was Bishop Maeda of Hiroshima.
On the 6th, the day Hiroshima was bombed, at 6:15 in the morning there was an inter-religious prayer service held at the peace memorial park. Clergy representing different religions offered incense and recited prayers for the victims of the A- bomb. At 8 am a “Memorial mass for the Victims of Nuclear Weapons and all Wars” took place at the cathedral.
Personally, for me to be in Hiroshima especially on 6th Aug. is something special. Every year when I go there I take time to listen to the stories of the A- bomb victims, watch some screen play on the bombing, listen to peace songs sung by different choirs and pray for peace. People offering flowers at the memorial monument, the smell of incense, the sound of gong etc. puts you into a mood that can not be explained by words. To be in that place the whole day and to be immersed in that atmosphere is a profound experience. I think I’ve got a special place for Hiroshima in my heart. That may be because I come from a war-affected country.
Ten Days for Peace August 3rd, 2012
The month of August in Japan begins with a focus on peace. ‘Ten days for Peace’ (Aug. 6-15) is a very important time for the country, as well as for the church in Japan, but especially for the people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Please join the Oblates and others who are remembering this weekend in prayer, and working for peace in the world.
A National Event Calendar shows 71 events planned across the United States this weekend to honor the victims of the US bombings and to call for an elimination of all nuclear weapons.
View the calendar and find an event: http://nuclearweaponsfree.org/calendar/
Read the address from Leo Jun IKENAGA, S.J., Archbishop of Osaka, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan (Download PDF)
Most Religious Believers Favor International Efforts To Curb Climate Change, Nuclear Risks, Poverty December 12th, 2011
A majority of Americans professing a belief in God, favor cooperative international efforts to combat climate change, environmental degradation, and the spread of nuclear weapons – branding them a moral obligation – says a new public opinion poll conducted jointly by the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and its Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA).
The nearly 1,500 Americans surveyed include large numbers of Catholics and Evangelicals. The study, Faith and Global Policy Challenges: How Spiritual Values Shape Views on Poverty, Nuclear Risks, and Environmental Degradation, also finds that a majority of “believers” consider addressing global poverty a “spiritual obligation,” and think that the United States should work cooperatively with other nations to reduce it.
“This research challenges common political stereotypes that pigeonhole religious Americans as liberal or conservative on environmental and nuclear proliferation issues,” says University of Maryland Public Policy Professor and study co-author John Steinbruner, who directs CISSM.
“These findings demonstrate the public’s strong moral impulse to address global policy challenges — an impulse that if applied properly could break the current impasse on these issues,” Steinbruner adds.
Though most believers in the study do not consider addressing environmental and nuclear risks to be spiritual obligations, they do understand these issues as a part of “good stewardship,” the study finds.
“While for many believers there is a tenuous connection between their spiritual values and issues related to the environment and the risk of nuclear war, they are nonetheless very responsive to the idea that there is an obligation to protect God’s creation, or to be good stewards of the earth,” explains study co-author Steven Kull, director of PIPA.
Update from the United Nations September 26th, 2011
UN welcomes South Sudan as 193rd Member State
On July 14th the General Assembly admitted the Republic of South Sudan as the 193rd member of the United Nations, welcoming the newly independent country to the community of nations. South Sudan’s independence from the rest of Sudan is the result of the January 2011 referendum held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the decades-long civil war between the North and the South. Learn more…
World Population Nearly 7 Billion!
As the world population approaches seven billion, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed in July that ending global poverty and inequality is the key to unleashing the great human potential for prosperity and peaceful coexistence, while protecting the planet and safeguarding the natural resources that sustain humanity. “Later this year, a seven-billionth baby will be born into our world of complexity and contradiction,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark World Population Day, observed annually on 11 July. Learn more…
UN Reports Progress Toward Poverty Alleviation
Some of the world’s poorest countries have made impressive gains in the fight against poverty, but the least developed countries still lag in efforts to improve living standards, the United Nations said in a report by DESA, showing significant overall progress towards achieving the global targets against extreme poverty.
67 Million Children Deprived of Education
67 million school-aged children are deprived of education, mainly due to financial or social hardship, in many cases stemming from poverty or armed conflict. At the opening of the high-level segment of the ECOSOC Council’ Annual Ministerial Review on 4 July, Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose Migiro warned that “getting kids into school is only half the battle.”
Statement on Nuclear Weapons
Papal Nuncio to the UN, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt made a significant statement on the Church’s rejection of nuclear war and nuclear weaponry at the 3rd Session of the Prepatory Committee for the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Go to: www.holyseemission.org and click on press releases.
Nobel Laureates Urge End of Nuclear Weapons November 17th, 2010
The Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace Prize laureates from the last four decades gathered last week in Hiroshima to urge the end of nuclear weapons. The Nobel laureates issued an appeal on November 14th for China, the United States, Egypt, Iran, Israel and Indonesia to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) without delay.
What’s Happening at the UN? February 18th, 2010
The 48th Session of the Commission for Social Development met at UN HQ in New York February 3-12. The theme was “Social Integration,” taking into account its relationship with poverty eradication, full employment and decent work for all. Learn more about the CSD…
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