Calls to abolish all nuclear weapons Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, May. 13, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve heard about the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945. But seeing a picture of the remains of a statue of  Mary that survived one of those bombs made those tragedies a reality for me.

A scorched head of a statue of Mary (pictured with this editorial) remained after the blast that destroyed Nagasaki’s Urakami Cathedral on August 9, 1945. The statue once graced the main altar of the cathedral. The haunting eyes of the statue remind viewers of what it might have been like for the 75,000 people who died during the blast.

editor's view by Mary C. Uhler

It was indeed miraculous that the statue of Mary remained after such an explosion. Among those surviving that atomic bomb was the mother of the current bishop of Nagasaki, Archbishop Joseph Mitsauki Takami. He was an unborn child in his mother’s womb when that atomic bomb struck Nagasaki, reported a Catholic News Service article.

Focus attention on need for disarmament
marian statue

Remains of the statue of Mary that survived the bombing of Nagasaki during World War II. (CNS photo/Bob Reers, Catholic New York)
Prayer to Mary, Queen of Peace

Mary, Queen of Peace, we entrust our lives to you. Shelter us from war, hatred, and oppression. Teach us to live in peace, to educate ourselves for peace. Inspire us to act justly, to revere all God has made. Root peace firmly in our hearts and in our world. Amen. ―
— Pope John Paul II

Archbishop Takami brought the remains of the statue of Mary to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on May 2, where he concelebrated Mass. The statue will remain at St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the month of Mary while the United Nations is holding a conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

The Japanese archbishop hopes the statue will focus attention on the enormous destructive power and inhumanity of nuclear weapons and the importance of working toward their elimination.

Archbishop Takami delivered a joint message from himself and the bishop of Hiroshima to the UN conference. They called on world leaders to “take a courageous step toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons.”

They said, “How sad and foolish it is to abuse the progress that humanity has made in the fields of science and technology in order to destroy lives as massively and swiftly as possible.”

Pope, Archbishop Migliore join call

At the end of his weekly audience at the Vatican on May 5, Pope Benedict XVI joined the call for disarmament. “I encourage the initiatives aimed at progressive disarmament and the creation of zones free from nuclear arms in the prospect of their complete elimination from the planet,” the pope said.

Likewise, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, warned that the proliferation of nuclear weapons and “the threat of nuclear terrorism” are growing. Archbishop Migliore told the conference that a top priority must be putting into effect a treaty banning the testing of new nuclear weapons.

Pray to Mary, Queen of Peace

It seems especially appropriate during the month of May — dedicated to Mary — that we pray for her intercession to help countries around the world work for peace and abolish nuclear weapons. Consider praying the Rosary at least once a week for the intention  of world peace.

As you pray, picture in your mind the remains of the statue of Mary that survived the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. Pray that atomic bombs will never be used again.

Also included with this editorial is a prayer attributed to Pope John Paul II to Mary, Queen of Peace. Please consider cutting it out and saying this prayer each day.