Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Nuclear Disarmament and Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration held on August 5, 2023 at Davenport Park in Bangor

Pax Christi greater Bangor along with the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine hosted a second annual Interfaith Prayer Vigil for Nuclear Disarmament and Hiroshima/Nagasaki 78th Anniversary Commemoration. Over thirty people including faith leaders from different traditions and peacemakers from a variety of backgrounds, gathered together to pray, to share experiences, to reflect on war & peace.

While visiting Nagasaki in November 2019, Pope Francis called for a unified peace effort, he said, “A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions of men and women everywhere. To make this ideal a reality calls for involvement on the part of all: individuals, religious communities and civil society, countries that possess nuclear weapons and those that do not, the military and private sectors, and international organizations.”

Masanobu Ikemiya, a native of Kyoto, Japan shared stories of his family’s experience of the horrific bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the impact of its long term devastation. Masanobu who resides on Mount Desert Island is a practicing Buddhist, a renowned pianist and peace activist who has dedicated his life and his music to peacemaking. Faith leaders from Catholic, Episcopal, Buddhist, Baha’i and Islamic traditions shared prayers and reflections. Peace and Justice advocates shared perspectives on conversion of hearts & minds, the necessity of speaking out in public forums.

Working in solidarity as faith leaders and persons wholeheartedly committed to peace and justice, this gathering brought an important voice to our community. We are called by the God of Peace to come together to advocate for nuclear disarmament, to pray for peace, to act for peace and to further the creation of a world committed to nonviolence.

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