Remembering Nagasaki in South Bend

About twenty people gathered at the Federal Building last night in South Bend, Indiana, to repent and pray on the 61st anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.

Another, more secular, vigil was held in South Bend earlier in the day.

The group, most wearing black, held signs reading “From Nagasaki to Lebanon / Mourn the Dead.”

Pictured: Mike Schorsch. Photo by Mike Benedetti. More photos.

The event was sponsored by the South Bend Catholic Worker and the Catholic Peace Fellowship. It began with the reading of a meditation, reprinted below.

(The South Bend Tribune covered this event. Last year when the Worcester Telegram & Gazette saw fit to cover a similar event in Massachusetts, they saw fit to “balance” the coverage by interviewing a WWII-era man with a poor understanding of the facts. The Tribune, to its credit, did not do this.)

A meditation by Mike Schorsch, on the 61st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 9, 2006

“Here are the beginnings of the age to come; here we see it reflected as in a mirror.” With these words, an ancient sermon describes the Transfiguration, the moment when Jesus revealed himself as God to his disciples. The “age to come” the sermon speaks of is the age of God’s peace, and the reflection is describes is found in the love and light of Christ.

On August 6th, Catholics celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration.

On August 6th, 1945, America became the first and only nation in the history of the world to use nuclear weapons against civilians.

On August 9th, 1943, Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant, a husband and father, was beheaded for refusing to fight in the Nazi army. Despite the objections of his bishop, Jägerstätter insisted that Christ was calling him to resist, to have no part in Nazism or its works.

On August 9, 1946, America dropped its second atomic bomb. Between the two bombings and their after effects, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed.

With profound sorrow we remember these thousands. We also remember the thousands killed in Iraq, in Palestine, in Israel, and in Lebanon. We pray for all of their souls, and for their families.

We pray for our times, that they will reflect the love of Christ, and not the cold, dispassionate hatred of the atom bomb. We pray for the “age to come,” that it will be one of souls transfigured by Christ’s peace—souls like that of Franz Jägerstätter.

We pray to the God of mercy for mercy, and to the God of peace for peace, and we ask for a time of transfiguration in this season of fury.

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