HIROSHIMA, Japan — The catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power in March 2011 illustrated “the errors of the world” that stem from human pride, a Japanese bishop said during a Mass commemorating the anniversary of the first atomic bombing.
Bishop Sueo Hamaguchi of Oita said Aug. 6 that the events that unfolded after the powerful earthquake and massive tsunami that tore apart the plant and left a plume of radioactive contamination across a wide swath of northeast Japan should serve as a warning to the world, the Asian church news agency UCA News reported.
The faithful must turn toward Jesus, the source of salvation, and share the journey of those in the midst of hardship, he said during the liturgy which memorialized “victims of nuclear weapons and war everywhere.”
About 400 people attended the Mass at the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace. Bishop Manyo Maeda of Hiroshima was the main celebrant.
At 8:15 a.m., the time the bomb was dropped Hiroshima in 1945, worshippers observed a minute of silence.
The diocese’s observance extended over several days.
About 500 people carrying placards and banners reading “World Peace” and “End Nuclear Power” marched up the main street from Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to the cathedral Aug. 5.
That evening, a Mass to pray for peace was celebrated by at the cathedral. Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, recently retired secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, attended the Mass.
Focusing on the theme expressed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan in a November 2011 message that called for the end of nuclear power in the country, a diocesan symposium Aug. 5 examined the prospects of a nuclear-free future. The program also featured comments from a Korean resident of Japan who survived the atomic bombing and from mothers who had been forced to flee Fukushima as the nuclear disaster unfolded.
The diocese’s observance was set to conclude Aug. 9 with a Mass at the World Peace Memorial Cathedral dedicated to the victims of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga of Osaka, president of the bishops’ conference, reiterated the call to end nuclear power across Japan.
In a statement marking the annual 10 Days for Peace observance called for by Blessed John Paul II during a 1981 visit to Hiroshima, Archbishop Ikenaga said, “the path to peace is precisely the path to cherish and respect life.”
“Therefore, let us make every effort to appeal anew to abolish nuclear plants immediately and to create a society where people protect life and seek peace,” he said.
• The full text of Archbishop Ikenaga’s message can be found online at www.cbcj.catholic.jp/eng/edoc/120806.htm.