Pope delivers anti-nuclear message in historic visit to Japan

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Pope Francis laying wreath at monument at Hypocenter Park (Credit: ABC News One)

Pope Francis called for the abolishment of nuclear weapons during his historic visit to Japan. 

The Pope arrived in Japan on Saturday, Nov. 23. At the Tokyo-Haneda Airport where he was welcomed by school children, according to a report from ABC News. 

He delivered his message during his visit at the historic cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Sunday.

While there, the pope remembered those who suffered from the U.S. atomic bombings, and demanded an end to the stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons.

In Nagasaki, the Pope laid a wreath in heavy rain at an outdoor memorial to bombing victims at ground zero. According to the ABC News report, Japanese Catholics and others braved the rain in plastic raincoats, some queued up for hours to secure a spot in the mass held at the baseball stadium.

The pope also met with victims of Japan’s “Triple Disaster” several years ago. This referred to the powerful earthquake and  tsunami that caused the Fukushima power plant disaster in 2011.

 Guam Catholics

According to Tony Diaz, director of communication for the Archdiocese of Agana,  a group of Guam Catholics coordinated with the Guam Nikkei Association on their own to secure seats for the two papal Masses. 

Diaz said around 90 people from Guam traveled to Japan to attend the Masses scheduled on Sunday, Nov. 24 in Nagasaki and Monday, Nov. 25 in Tokyo.

According to Diaz, Archbishop Michael Byrnes did not travel to Japan for the papal mass and the Archdiocese of Agana did not send a delegation to Japan. 

“Though Archbishop Byrnes did not journey to Japan, he extends his prayers to all people from our island who traveled to Japan for the papal visit and Masses. He is also praying for the Holy Father to have a safe, blessed pilgrimage in Asia and has the people of Thailand and Japan in his prayers as well,” Diaz said.