Vigil for Peace: Remembering the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima and of the city of Nagasaki

between the evening of Monday, August 5, 2024, and the evening of Thursday,, August 8, 2024

The morning of Monday, 6 August 1945, while it was still Sunday evening in New York City, the first atomic bomb was dropped by the US Air Force on the people of Hiroshima at 8:15 AM. On Thursday morning, 9 August 1945 at 11.15 AM the second, and far more powerful, atomic bomb was dropped by the US Air Force on the people of Nagasaki. On Sunday, 2 September 1945, the Emperor of Japan surrendered unconditionally. The nuclear bombing of the city of Hiroshima and the nuclear bombing of the city of Nagasaki remains the only two instances of the deliberate use of nuclear weapons in war.

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary at 325 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016 will be open to all, including friends, groups, communities, and families, for prayer and hospitality between the 7 PM Monday, August 5th, 2024 (8 AM in Japan; 1 AM in Rome) and 10.15 PM Thursday, August 8, 2024  (11.15 AM in Japan; 4:15 AM in Rome.) The live stream will be available within these hours. They will be different in each time zone.
For 75 consecutive hours, we will pray for peace in communion with sisters and brothers around the world and remembering the victims of all current conflicts. The Vigil is one of the many fruits of the Prayer for Peace that was initiated by Pope John Paul II in Assisi in 1986, and has continued every year since. The Prayer for Peace in 2024 will be held in Paris. The Vigil will be available in streaming (here) and many will participate from around the world.
Nuclear disarmament is possible and it has been done. The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which articulates humanity’s commitment to nuclear disarmament, became international law in 1970 and it has been ratified by 190 governments. The Catholic Church has been consistently supportive of the abolition of nuclear weapons. Already in 1963 in the encyclical Pacem in Terris, John XXIII clearly stated: “Nuclear weapons must be banned.” In 2017 Pope Francis declared about nuclear weapons: “... the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned.”
Unfortunately, the production and use of both nuclear and conventional weapons has grown dramatically. All countries, and notably the USA, are ‘modernizing’ their arsenals. The New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which took effect in 2011, is set to expire in February 2026.
The vigil is organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio with the support of parishioners, volunteers, and collaborating organizations, including the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. For more details, please contact [email protected] or reach out to Susan Cangiano (917 817 3919) or Thomas Murphy (646 209 2755). You're welcome to participate remotely by sending your prayers to [email protected], which will be read aloud in the Chapel. 

May God bless us all with the Gift of Peace.

This painting was created by the Lab of Gli Amici in Rome. It represents Hiroshima after the nuclear bombing of August 6, 1945. The original will be displayed at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary (here) at 325 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016 during the Vigil for Peace.