Report of August 6, 2016 White House Prayer Service of Repentance for the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

This morning, the 71st anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the feast of the Transfiguration, about 30 peacemakers held a prayer service in the sweltering heat outside the White House to repent for the U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. (See below the prayer service program). This peace witness was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project and the Sisters of Mercy— Institute Justice Team.
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The prayer witness, which was held from 8:00-9:00 AM, began with an opening reflection which I offered. This was followed by a period of silence to remember the nuclear victims at 8:16 AM, the exact time in Japan that the bomb was dropped. Then Mr. Toshiyuki Mimaki, (pictured above speaking in front of the White house) Vice President of Hiroshima Prefectural Hibakusha Organization and a former Executive Board member of Nihon Hidankyo (The Japan Confederation of A & H Bomb Sufferers Organizations) was introduced by Kio Kanda, from the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area, the group responsible for bringing Mr. Mimaki to the D.C. area. Speaking through an excellent translator, Mr. Mimaki, shared that he was born in Tokyo, experienced the Great Tokyo Air Raid and was then exposed to the atomic bombing at the age of three in his father’s hometown of Hiroshima, where he had moved. On August 8, 1945, he walked around the whole neighborhood of Hiroshima Station with his mother and younger brother in search of his father, who worked for the Japan National Railway. He also conveyed the horrific experience his family endured as a result of the bombing. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Mimaki stated that he appreciated President Obama’s recent historic visit to Hiroshima. He also made a plea to Mr. Obama to visit the Peace Museum in Hiroshima and do the right thing, together with other nuclear powers: abolish all nuclear weapons! 

Following Mr. Mimkai’s powerful remarks, Bob Cooke shared about the groups who were involved in sponsoring the “Apology Petition,” and how grateful we are to Paul Magno and Nonviolence International for posting the petition on their web site. (People can still sign the petition at http://action.nonviolenceinternational.net/apology_petition.  To date 555 people have signed on to the petition. Scott Wright and Jean Stokan then proceeded to lead a moving ritual of repentance atoning for the nuclear sin and distributed red and white roses to all gathered. The red roses symbolized the sacredness of all life as well as the grief and suffering caused by war and the Bomb. The white roses symbolized hope and our commitment to work for a nonviolent world, free of weapons, war and violence. Following a community reading of the Apology Petition, each person presented their rose to Mr. Mimaki, who graciously received them. The Apology Petition was then personally presented to Mr. Mimaki, who expressed his profound appreciation.

After the presentation of the Apology Petition, Paul Magno and Sr. Megan Rice led a Litany of Repentance (see below). Following the Litany, Marie Dennis read a passage for the Gospel of Luke, marking the feast of the Transfiguration, as well as a short prayer. Liz McAlister then read a poem titled “Shadow on the Rock,” (see below) that was written by her brother-in-law, Daniel Berrigan, S.J. who died on April 30th. (Daniel Berrigan–Presente!) The witness concluded with everyone singing “I Come and Stand” (see below) and “Vine and Fig Tree.”

On Tuesday, August 9, from 7:00 – 8:00 AM, we will hold a nonviolent witness at the Pentagon to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. For those in the greater D.C. area we cordially invite you to join us.  For more info email artlaffin@hotmail.com.

Apology Petition

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear Weapons

 

August 6 and 9, 2016–71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 

 

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

 

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

 

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

 

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

 

(This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project, the Sisters of MercyInstitute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace, Jonah House and the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area. This petition was presented to  Mr. Toshiyuki Mimaki, Hiroshima Hibakusha (A-bomb Survivor),  at the August 6th White House prayer witness.   If you would sll like to  sign the petition please go to  http://action.nonviolenceinternational.net/apology_petition.

Published in: on August 8, 2016 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  

White House and Pentagon Peace Actions to Commemorate the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Dear Friends,
This is a special invitation to join with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project and the Sisters of MercyInstitute Justice Team in two nonviolent acts of public witness at the White House and the Pentagon to repent for the U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan on August 6 and August 9, 1945 and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the U.S. and worldwide. See details below.
Also we are circulating an “Apology Petition” (see below) regarding the U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan, which we invite you to sign and share with your networks. If you are not able to be in Washington, we encourage you to hold a vigil in your area on August 6th and use this petition.  
Please share this invitation with your network of friends.

With great gratitude,

Art Laffin, Scott Wright, Paul Magno, Bob Cooke, Jean Stokan

Hiroshima

August 6-9 Peace Actions

Commemorating the U.S. Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Seventy-one years ago the U.S. Government did the “unspeakable” and dropped atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, thus beginning the Nuclear  Age. The U.S. has never repented for the use of these weapons of indiscriminate mass murder. Moreover, it has continued to build even deadlier weapons which endanger all of creation. Today the U.S. possesses nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons, many of which are on hair-trigger alert, and proposes to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize it’s existing nuclear arsenal. 

Please join in two nonviolent actions as we seek to remember the pain, repent the sin, reclaim the future and create a nonviolent disarmed world. At the August 6th White House witness we will be joined by a Hibakusha (A-Bomb survivor) from Japan.

When and Where:

Saturday, August 6 (Anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the Feast of the Transfiguration): Nonviolent Witness and Prayer Service of Repentance at White House. 8:00-9:00 AM on north side of White House on Pennsylvania Ave–across from Lafayette Park. (8:15 AM is the exact time that the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima) The Apology Petition will be presented to the Hibakusha during this witness.

 

Tuesday, August 9 (Anniversary of U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki): Nonviolent witness at the Pentagon. Meet on corner of Army-Navy Drive and Fern St. @ 6:30 a.m. Witness from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

Please join us!

For more info contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-360-6416,

artlaffin@hotmail.com

Apology Petition

 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear Weapons

 

August 6 and 9, 2016–71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 

 

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

 

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

 

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

 

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

(This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Isaiah Project, the Sisters of MercyInstitute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace, Jonah House and the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area. To sign the petition please go to The Apology Petition. This petition will be presented to the Hibakusha at the August 6th White House witness. Please sign by August 5th. If you are not able to be in Washington, we encourage you to hold a vigil in your area on August 6th and use this petition.  For more info contact artlaffin@hotmail.com)

Published in: on July 7, 2016 at 1:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Ending the Crime of Torture:Testimony of Two Torture Survivors

Speakers: Sami Baloch Badini from Balochistan, Pakistan and Janel Martial Siewe Kwegue
Date: Friday, June 3, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.
Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010.

Sami Baloch Badini from Balochistan, Pakistan, and Janel Martial Siewe Kwegue from Cameroon, are members of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) and will speak about their experience as torture survivors. The mission of TASSC, the only organization founded by and for torture survivors, is to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and to empower survivors, their families and communities wherever they are. Please join us for this very important program.

For more info on TASSC’s 19th Annual Torture Survivors’ Week from June 22-26th, including the day-long vigil on June 25th at Lafayette Park across from the White House,  please see: www.tassc.org.

For more info contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649 or 202-360-6416.

Published in: on May 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Targeting Muslims at Home and Abroad

Speaker:  Dr. Maha Hilal 
 
Date: Friday,  May 13, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m. 

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. 20010
Islamophobia is on the rise! In response to recent attacks in Paris, San Bernadino and Brussels, Muslims are being targeted and demonized at home and abroad. In the U.S., Republican presidential candidates want to restrict the entry of Muslims, increase security and surveillance where Muslims reside, and authorize torture. Abroad, the U.S. has waged an unrelenting war against Muslims, through bombings, occupation and the use of killer drones, as well as the unjust detention of Muslim men at Guantanamo. 
 
Dr. Maha Hilal is the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, an organization dedicated to addressing civil and human rights abuses related to preemptive prosecutions and thoughts crimes in the War on Terror. She is also an Islamophobia consultant for the Team Baluchi Defense Team of the Office of the Chief of Defense, where she supports research on disparities in the legal system that Muslims face. She is presently an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University. Maha earned her doctorate last May from the Department of Justice, Law and Society at American University in Washington, D.C. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling and her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked at a number of human rights organizations, including the Center for Victims of Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Last November she was part of a Witness Against Torture delegation to Guantanamo to call for the closing of the detention center. See the following excellent article about Guantanamo that Maha recently wrote:
Please join us for this important event!
For more information contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-360-6416
Published in: on May 1, 2016 at 4:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Prophet and Eucharistic Martyr: Remembering El Salvador’s Blessed Oscar Romero

Speaker: Cinnamon Sarver
Date: Friday,  April 1, 2016 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

“The word remains.  This is the great comfort of the one who preaches.  My voice will disappear but my word, which is Christ, will remain in the hearts of those who have willed to receive it.”  (Oscar Romero, Dec. 1978)

So much of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s witness to the poor and suffering people of El Salvador, including his martyrial death in 1980, was offered during his celebrations of the Eucharistic. Come hear more about this prophetic figure, with a special eye toward the witness he gave in his preaching and the offering of the Mass.  

 
The talk will be given by Cinnamon Sarver, a local Catholic educator, who has traveled to El Salvador four times to study the legacy of Oscar Romero.  Last May she attended Romero’s beatification Mass and will also share some about that event and her personal journey with Romero.
See her March 19th article in the National Catholic Reporter:
Please join us!
For more information contact Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649 
Published in: on March 29, 2016 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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