On November 25, 2019, The Flame of Hope was used to light the candles of His Holiness Pope Francis’ Mass at the Tokyo Dome, a global event that took place in front of over 55,000 people.
The Flame of Hope was presented to the Catholic alter by Mrs. Chiumi Shinkai, a 2nd generation Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), accompanied by Buddhist priests Ryokyu Endo and Joma Mootoka, and Dr. Alice Kerschbaumer-Schmitzhofer, Director of Earth Caravan Europe. It was raining violently just before the Pope’s Tokyo Mass, but just before the opening ceremony the clouds miraculously parted, and the rain stopped. It was as warm as a mid-summer’s day!
The Flame has been travelling around Japan since September 2019, visiting Catholic and Protestant churches, mosques, and Shinto and Buddhist temples along the way. Wishes and prayers for peace were added to the Flame from all who crossed its path.
The Flame of Hope symbolizes humanity’s wish for peace. It was placed on altars at the Masses conducted by Pope Francis in Tokyo and Nagasaki, southwestern Japan, during his visit to Japan, the first time a Pope has visited Japan since Pope John Paul II in 1981.
In March 2019, Earth Caravan was invited to the Vatican to present the Hiroshima Flame to Pope Francis. The flame was taken from the ashes of the atomic bomb and has been burning continuously as a symbol for peace since August 6, 1945.
His Holiness blew out the embers of Hiroshima atomic bomb, as a symbolical act for abolition of nuclear and all weapons. From that act, the Flame of Hope was born to symbolize the transformation of past suffering into future peace.