04/05/2006, 00.00
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Hiroshima remembers John Paul II's visit

The diocese celebrates the 25th anniversary of John Paul II's visit. Japanese and South Korean students gather for peace.

Hiroshima (AsiaNews/JCW) – Churches throughout the diocese of Hiroshima organised a variety of events in February and March to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the late Pope John Paul II's 1981 visit. In the city of Hiroshima itself, two masses for peace were celebrated at Noboricho Cathedral with some 600 people attending.

In his homily, Hiroshima Bishop Atsumi Misue referred to Pope John Paul's "Appeal for World Peace". It was on that occasion that the Holy Father said: "I appeal to the young people of the world. Can we not join hands and build together a new future founded in love and solidarity?"

"To think of Hiroshima," the prelate said, "is to pray for the abolition of nuclear war. This celebration of the 25th anniversary does not mean our mission is ended. The important years lie ahead."

"The diocese," he added, "will continue to celebrate this day and keep alive the memory of the Pope's appeal. We must make peace a reality in the lives we lead every day."
An annual get-together for Korean and Japanese students coincided with the anniversary celebrations, and students from the two countries participated in the events.

Among the offerings carried to the altar during mass was a rosary made of origami cranes.

Fr Han Sunju, 43, from the diocese of Suwon in South Korea addressed the congregation at the end of mass.

"For our part," he said, "we must do everything in our power to achieve peace. We must fight for it."
Towards the end of the celebrations, the students read an appeal for peace. All together they recited in Japanese and Korean: "We must listen to the witness of the victims of the bomb and see in them the figure of Christ crucified. Our hearts were opened here today. We learned the importance of guarding and preserving the peace that Christ bequeathed to us."

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