Tokyo (Fides News Agency) – Today, August 9, is the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the second (and hopefully, last) in history, which followed that of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Nagasaki at the time was the most important center for Japan’s Catholic community – whose history dates back to the 16th century and is laden with persecution, but also made up of a community that for a century preserved their faith in silence, secretly baptizing their children, even if they had no access to the Eucharist on account of a lack of priests.
It was precisely in Nagasaki that, in 1597, 26 Catholics were martyred, and again in this city, another 56 faithful were killed in 1622.
The nuclear bomb exploded at a height of 500 meters, half a kilometer from the cathedral of Urakami Tenshudo, the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, whose spires were used as a landmark by the pilots of the B-29 that dropped the plutonium device nicknamed “Fat Man”.
At that moment, in the cathedral were roughly thirty believers going to confession to adequately prepare themselves for the Assumption festivities. The destroyed cathedral was the largest Catholic church in Asia, built over the span of 30 years.
The atomic bomb on Nagasaki killed 400,000 people instantly, and wounded 75,000. And by the end of 1945, 74,000 people had perished. (L.M.) (Fides News Agency 9/8/2023)