Peace prayers at the anniversary of Hiroshima bombing


On Thursday, Aug. 6, Msgr. Michael Doyle, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish here, hosted a prayer ceremony for peace outside the church in the adjacent Peace Park, at the corner of Broadway and Ferry Avenue. The date was chosen because it was the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Msgr. Doyle, joined by summer students and catechists of Sacred Heart and St. Rose of Lima, Haddon Heights, prayed that future wars and tragedies of violence could be averted.

The children had discussed “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” and had made origami cranes inspired by the book. They repeated the words enshrined at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial “This is our cry; This is our prayer; Peace in the world.”

They also sang The Prayer of St Francis and pledged to serve as “instruments of God’s peace.”

The Peace Monument around which the small group gathered was given to Msgr. Doyle as a celebratory and appreciative remembrance of his half-century in the priesthood. Designed by Bob McGovern and created by Winters Art Studio, the statue consists of a seed surrounded by flourishing wheat stalks and shattered firearms. The word “PEACE” appears numerous times on the shell and as the kernel of the seed.

Msgr. Doyle, assigned to the Camden parish for over three decades and long interested in social and violence-ending initiatives, had complained about the lack of such memorials in cities around the world.

“Most towns have monuments to war, men with guns, but not many to peace,” he said. The statue and entire ceremony reflected that hope from the prophet Isaiah, “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

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