Pope Francis visiting Nagasaki, Hiroshima

Pope Francis will visit the atomic-bombed Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Sunday. He will give a speech in each city, most likely calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The pontiff arrived in Japan on Saturday, becoming the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to visit the country in 38 years.

Pope Francis will lay flowers at ground zero and light a candle to pray for peace. He will offer a moment of silence for the victims of the atomic bombing that took place on August 9, 1945.

The pope will then deliver a speech appealing for a world without nuclear arms.

People in Nagasaki expect the pope's visit will bring new momentum for nuclear disarmament.

One man said, "I hope the pope will appeal for the elimination of nuclear arms."

A woman said, "I'm also longing for a world without war. My uncle and relatives were all killed by the atomic bomb."

Another woman said, "I hope to live in a world where children can dream of a peaceful future."

The pope will also visit Nishizaka Park to pray for the souls of 26 Catholics who were executed for their faith in 1597, when Christianity was suppressed.
The martyrs included foreign missionaries.

He will then lead a Mass at the Nagasaki prefectural baseball stadium.

Pope Francis will travel to Hiroshima City and arrive shortly before 6 p.m. to attend a gathering of atomic-bomb survivors and others at the Peace Memorial Park.

He will listen to the accounts of two hibakusha and give an address on peace.

In a meeting with Japanese clergy on Saturday, the pope referred to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in northeastern Japan.

He said, "I will offer prayers for the victims of the catastrophic bombing of these two cities. I wish to meet those who still bear the wounds of this tragic episode in human history and recent natural disasters."

Pope Francis has been actively working toward nuclear disarmament and people are looking forward to hearing his message to the world from Nagasaki and Hiroshima.