Statue of the Virgin Mary that ‘survived’ A-bomb: Icon of today’s embattled Catholic Church

by Hisashi Yukimoto
Tokyo (ENI). The remains of a statue of the Virgin Mary that survived the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki is to be exhibited in New York ahead of an international conference aimed at curbing arms proliferation, says the Roman Catholic Church in the Japanese city.

The wooden statue of the mother of Jesus, which stood in Urakami Cathedral in the western Japanese city, was almost completely destroyed by the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki by the U.S. Air Force in the last days of the Second World War on 9 August 1945. Only Mary’s head remained intact. The cathedral itself was reduced to rubble.

“It [the head] will be shown while prayers are said during a Mass [in New York]”, Midori Shikayama, an official of the Nagasaki archdiocese’s public relations department, told Ecumenical News International.

Shikayama explained it will be the first time the statue has visited the United States when it is shown during the Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on 2 May. The following day a 26-days-long U.N. conference reviewing the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons begins.

The service will form part of the visit to New York by Nagasaki’s Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami, an A-bomb survivor. The visit is due to begin on 30 April to coincide with the U.N. conference.

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