NUMEROUS EVENTS will take place next week throughout the country to mark the fortieth anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United Stales.
Candles have been sent out from Hiroshima all over the world and one of them will form the centre of a ceremony in Brentwood Cathedral on Tuesday evening when there will be a ritual lighting by the congregation.
Christian CND will be holding a peace pilgrimage from London to Canterbury from Tuesday until Friday. Atomic bomb survivors will despatch the 80 marchers on their 60 mile walk from Southwark Cathedral and welcome the arrivals at Canterbury.
In London, Pax Christi, the Catholic peace organisation, will be praying, fasting and distributing literature on the steps of Westminster Cathedral from 10am until 6pm, beginning on Tuesday, Hiroshima Day. They will have a peace Mass in the cathedral in the evening and continue their vigil in the daytime until Friday Nagasaki Day,
Meanwhile, Catholic Peace Action will he maintaining a day and night vigil outside the Ministry of Defence in London throughout the period. And Benedictine monks from Douai Abbey plan to join the Anglican parish of Turville, in the Chilterns for a vigil running right through the smallest hours of the morning until the end of the week.
Franciscans for Justice and Peace — a group of Anglican and Catholic Franciscans — will be converging on the Berkshire village of Burghfieid on Tuesday to organise a peace vigil and festival. The village is the site of the Royal Ordnance factory which assembles nuclear warheads.
The day's activities are scheduled to include a service at the Catholic church of St Oswald in the morning, followed by two and a half hours of silent prayer until lunchtime. Then two professional clowns will entertain those gathered for a picnic. In the afternoon, there will be another two and a half hours of silent prayer and the day will close with an evening service at the Anglican church of St Mary at which the preacher will be the London priest, Fr Michael Hollings.
Pax Christi representatives said this week that these vigils were just the lip of the iceberg, with many more local events taking place in Britain throughout this week.