Papal Visit to Hiroshima for the First Time in 38 Years


The upcoming papal visit to Japan will be the second such visit since Pope John Paul II's in 1981.
On November 15, 2017, Mayor Matsui Kazumi conveyed Hiroshima City's initiatives towards nuclear abolition and made a direct appeal for the Pope to visit the atomic bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the General Audience with the Pope, held in Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican. The Pope expressed his understanding of the mayor's request, stating, "I think so." 
At that time, a personal letter, signed by both the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was handed over to the Pope, and in May 2018, the Pope sent a reply, stating, "While Hiroshima and Nagasaki conjure images extreme suffering, pain, and death caused by war and violence, they also prove that we have the power to rise up, to protect life, spread peace, and build the bonds of brotherhood. These two cities are a light of hope for the entire world. The hibakusha who survived that terrible tragedy are living proof of this, and their experiences inspire us to continue in our efforts to ensure that such a tragedy will never be repeated. I promise to personally pray for each of you, for your families, and for the citizens of both of your cities."In February 2019, an official request for a papal visit to Hiroshima was sent, signed by both Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki and Mayor Kazumi Matsui. 
It is through these efforts that the coming November visit of Pope Francis to Hiroshima and Nagasaki became a reality.Much like the previous papal visit, this upcoming visit is also expected to gain much attention both domestically and internationally, particularly in the atomic bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and from the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, including Catholics in Japan.

This Year's Papal Visit
During the November 24 papal visit, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki to pray for the victims of the atomic bombings and deliver a message of peace which calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

What is the Pope's Role?
The Pope is the highest member of the Catholic Church in the Christian faith, and serves as the bishop of Rome and the spiritual leader of Catholics worldwide. The Pope also serves as head of state for Vatican City, making the position a unique one which carries both the power of religious authority as head of the Catholic Church, and power of international political authority as the head of state for Vatican City.

Who is Pope Francis?
Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) was elected as the 266th Pope on March 13, 2013, and inaugurated on March 19, 2013. Born on December 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he is the first South American Pope and a member of the Society of Jesus. He is 82 years old. 

Pope John Paul II's Visit to Japan
In 1981, Pope John Paul II visited Japan for the very first time from February 23 to 26. The address given by the Pope, who visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, left a lasting impression not only on the Catholic Church, but in the hearts of the people of Japan.
In particular, his Appeal of Peace speech, which addressed the people of the world from Hiroshima, expressed his mission as a pilgrim of peace. The memory of this speech continues to live on even today.
During his visit to Hiroshima 38 years ago, Pope John Paul II visited the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, and made his iconic "Appeal for Peace" speech in front of 25,000 people and fellow Catholics. He also toured the Peace Memorial Museum, gave a special lecture "Technology, Society and Peace" at the Hiroshima Municipal Auditorium (current International Conference Center Hiroshima) which was jointly organized by the United Nations University and the City of Hiroshima, and paid a visit to the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace.

Places Visited During the 1981 Papal Visit
In 1981, Pope John Paul II visited Peace Memorial Park, the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and Memorial Cathedral for World Peace. Follow in the footsteps of history and visit these important historical and cultural sites today.
Peace Memorial Park
Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Memorial Cathedral for World Peace

Other related destinations:
Monument Commemorating Pope John Paul II's Appeal for Peace (1st Floor of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum East Building)
Cross and Bell That Survived the Atomic Bomb at the Nagarekawa Church

Below, you'll find a list of other tourist destinations in and around the places that Pope John Paul II visited on his trip in 1981.
Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
Orizuru Tower
Hiroshima Museum of Art
Hiroshima Castle
Shukkeien Garden
Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum

Related sites:
Hiroshima Peace Tourism
Hiroshima City and Regional Area Official Tourism Website: Explore Hiroshima

Pope John Paul Ⅱ's Visit to Hiroshima in 1981 (Source: General Secretariat, The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan)


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