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Statue of Mary a symbol of peace for Japan

.- A popular statue of the Virgin Mary in Nagasaki, Japan, has been given a new home in the city’s Cathedral of Urakami.  Cathedral officials recently opened a new chapel to house the wooden statue, which has become a symbol for peace and for the struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The chapel was opened to public on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, which put an end to World War II.

The Cathedral of Urakami was originally located less than a mile from where the bomb exploded and was completely reduced to rubble.  Inside the Cathedral was a wooden statue of the Virgin Maria, which had been crafted in Italy and sent to Japan as a gift in 1920.

Father Isamu Hiranu, a priest at the Cathedral, said the statue of the Blessed Mother “was discovered in unusual circumstances, with the Cathedral reduced to ashes, which is enough to think of it as a miracle.  And her such sorrowful appearance seems to show that the Virgin Mary is bearing all of the suffering of the victims.”  “Many survivors of the atomic bombing believe that this tragedy was the will of God and that the lives of the victims were given up in order to prevent more senseless sacrifices,” he added.

“This statue is a symbol that broadcasts to the world the importance of faith and the need for peace in the world, but it also shows all of the horror of the atomic bomb,” Father Hiranu said.

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