My family and I traveled to Nagasaki, Japan last week, a few days after Pope Francis left. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, and our goals were twofold: to visit the Atomic Bomb Museum and the 26 Martyrs Shrine and Museum.
We saw these melted rosary beads on the afternoon of our first day in the city when visiting Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Museum. It seems that Nagasaki was a hub of missionary activity and the home of many “hidden Christians” whose families struggled to keep and pass on the Faith during 250 years under persecution and ban. Many Japanese Christians called Nagasaki on the day the bomb fell.
We also saw a remnant of the original Urakami Cathedral (Catholic) in Nagasaki’s Hypocenter Park, which was within a kilometer of the hypocenter of the plutonium bomb explosion.
But they rebuilt it, Deo Gratias!
There was also POW camp within a kilometer of the hypocenter, and the Soviets had declared war in Japan the day before. 75,000 people were killed instantly, and most were women and children. 75,000 were injured. The Japanese posit that the Americans spent $2B on the Manhattan project and had to show something for it.
Adjacent to the Atomic Bomb Museum are the Hypocenter Park with a cenotaph at the hypocenter of the explosion, and the Peace Park.
We also spent a good deal of time at the 26 Martyrs Shrine and Museum. Perhaps you know that St. Paul Miki was crucified with 25 others there in 1597, at the start of over 250 years of persecution of Christians.
Here’s the hill upon which they died.
And the relics of St. Paul Miki and others.
Their feast day is not until February, but it’s never too early to ask, “St. Paul Miki and companions, pray for us!”