Enduring symbol of faith returns to historic center of Japanese Catholicism.
A large wooden cross that was present for and withstood the bombing of Nagasaki is being returned to Japan after three-quarters of a century abroad.
At 11:01 on the morning of August 9, 1945, 74 years ago today, American forces dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The explosion would instantly claim the lives of about 40,000 people, with tens of thousands falling to the effects of nuclear fallout in the following months.
At the time, Nagasaki was widely regarded as the center of Catholicism in Japan, largely thanks to the efforts of St. Francis Xavier, who devoted his life to evangelizing in the Eastern world. On that fateful morning Nagasaki’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral was caught in the blast, and the entire church was toppled. Miraculously, however, the large wooden cross atop the building survived.