To mark the 76th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima in Japan, the annual Hiroshima Day Lantern Floating Ceremony will be held at the Peace Pagoda Willen, Milton Keynes beginning at 7.30pm on Friday 6th August.
At dusk, 200 paper lanterns decorated with pictures and words of peace, each with a lit candle, will be floated out onto Willen lake.
Unfortunately the event last year was cancelled because of the Covid pandemic. I am hoping to attend the short ceremony this year in memory of the victims, together with fellow Columbans.
Columban Lay Missionaries have decided to support the event and have participated in the design of the Japanese papers that will be used to make some of the floating candle lanterns.
Just like every year, the theme of the design is “What peace means to you?” Lay Missionaries, Roberta, Sophia, Teresa and Nathalie along with her husband Mauricio and their two children Florencia and Benjamin, joined me in designed beautiful papers which I have mailed to the event organisers in advance of the ceremony.
The Columbans support peace initiatives such this because we have a passion for justice, a desire for peace and a concern for the integrity of God’s creation which are all essential aspects to the living out of the Gospel. Through advocacy and campaign work we strive to help end war and build a peaceful, safe and just world for all.
For the past 40 years, the society has called for abolition of nuclear weapons, rooted in our missionary experience in Japan and in fifteen other countries, including four of the nine nations that currently possess nuclear weapons. Earlier this year, the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into force.
Columbans have had a presence in Japan for many years. In January of 1948, Fathers Doyle and O’Brien travelled to the bombed-out city of Tokyo, and within a year, about 30 more Columbans had arrived in Japan. As the nation of Japan began to recreate itself after the devastation of World War II, the Columbans were creating their mission there.
Columbans still have a missionary presence in Japan, in fact Roberta Jung-Hae Kim one of our Lay Missionary assigned to the region of Britain, also worked there as a missionary for 11 years.
Roberta worked in Wakayama, a Japanese prefecture in the Kansai region and served her local parish community by joining bible study sessions and visiting nursing homes and facilities specialising in the care for people with disabilities. Having a passion for ecology, Roberta became involved with organic farming and the application of EM technology in agriculture. It is here her interest in horticultural therapy blossomed and she began offering rehabilitation to local adults with complex physical and mental health difficulties. During this time she also dedicated much of her time campaigning for peace and maintaining Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
There is a saying that ‘Pictures or drawings can speak a thousand words’ and so we are hoping that these Japanese papers that we have designed for the lanterns, will speak a thousand words about peace to those who will see them.
For more information about the event please contact Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple, by calling 01908 663 652 or emailing them: email@example.com.