Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hibaku no Maria, Pray for Us

The Mary Page has some background from Father Kaemon Noguchi and Sister Luca Maria Ritsuko Oka respectively — What is the story of the "Bombed" Mary, a Marian Statue in Urakami, Japan? and The Motherly Presence of the Virgin Mary in the Local Church of Nagasaki.

The priest tells us that "the image came to Urakami Cathedral in the 1930s from Italy, being a carved wood carving" and "is based on the painting by the Spanish painter, Bartoleme Esteban Murillo (1618-1682) of the Immaculate Conception motif." Noting that "a lot of people felt affection towards the image of Mary," he recounts, "During the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, two priests and about thirty Roman Catholics were in the old Urakami Chapel for confession. The bomb killed these people and destroyed many holy tools, stone images and the image of the Immaculate Mary--all at the same time."

The nun writes, "In the history of Japanese Christianity, the church of Nagasaki has a peculiar role: not only for being the original place of Christianity in Japan, but also for being a witness of its faith, hope and peace, especially in its difficult and painful moments. One of the characteristics of the Christian community of Nagasaki, we can say, is the sincere and filial veneration towards the Mother of God."

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.