(Nagasaki: A Peace Church Rises From the Nuclear Ashes, Jack Wintz, O.F.M.)
(Karl Keating: e-letter of 3 August 2004; no longer online)
It is ironic that this most Catholic of Japanese centers should have been targeted for the second atomic bomb of 1945. One of the original martyrs executed at Nagasaki in 1597 was a Mexican-born Franciscan friar, canonized in 1862 as St. Philip of Jesus. As he was about to die on his cross, he is reported to have foretold that one day Nagasaki would be destroyed by “a ball of fire dropping from the sky.”
(Fr. Robert F. McNamara, “Japan’s Blessed Martyrs”: no longer online)
Nagasaki had been visited by St. Francis Xavier in 1549, and was the most Christian of Japanese cities with 10% of its population being Catholic. It contained the largest Catholic cathedral in East Asia; during the atomic attack, its roof crumbled killing dozens of parishioners that were about to give confession. Of Nagasaki’s prebomb population of 22,000 Christians, most of whom were Catholic, only 13,000 survived the A-bomb.
(Peter N. Kirstein, “Holocaust From The Sky: American Atomic Genocide: Nagasaki, August 9, 1945”: rev. 8-9-07)