Westminster Justice & Peace joined Pax Christi, London Catholic Worker and other peace campaigners to remember the devastation caused by the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August 1945.
We mourned for those who lost their lives, prayed for an end to nuclear weapons and handed out leaflets to visitors to the Cathedral.
On 9th August, the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, we also joined a procession from Westminster Cathedral – following the memorial service for Blessed Franz Jagerstatter – to the Peace Pagoda by the Thames in Battersea Park, led by Buddhist monk the Rev Gyoro Nagase with several monks and a nun from the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order.
Arriving at the Peace Pagoda, we were welcomed by Mr Shigeo Kobayashi from Japan Against Nuclear (JAN).
Colourful lanterns on the steps of the pagoda represented souls of the 74,000 people who perished in the bombing in 1945.
The monks led prayers and ceremonies with incense and chanting for all victims in Nagasaki and offered prayers for peace in the world.
Fr Alan Gadd, from the South London Interfaith group, offered a Christian prayer. Hannah Kemp-Welch, CND co-chair, gave a brief address in which she voiced fears over the increasing tensions in the world where so many countries have nuclear weapons.
Shigeo Kobayashi spoke about the urgent necessity of implementing promises made in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and hopes for the tenth Review Conference of Parties to the treaty (#NPTRevCon) which is currently taking place at the UN in New York. He said the danger of a catastrophic accident has never been greater – pointing out that the bomb on Nagasaki was actually an accident – the original intention was to drop it somewhere else but plans were changed because of the weather.
The Peace Pagoda was presented to London in 1984 by the Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji, founder of the Japanese Buddhist movement, Nipponzan Myohoji. Following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he pledged to build pagodas worldwide as shrines to peace. Altogether, there are now 80 peace pagodas worldwide.
“Civilisation is not to kill human beings, not to destroy things, nor make war; civilisation is to hold mutual affection and to respect one another.”Rev Fuji
All are invited to join us next year to mark the 78th anniversary of the bombings and to continue, in the meantime, to work for an end to these weapons so that all may live without fear of them ever being used again.
Full Report: Independent Catholic News