Hiroshima Municipal Technical High School make copper cranes as gifts for Pope’s visit

(by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer)

In anticipation of the visit to Hiroshima by Pope Francis, several students from Hiroshima Municipal Technical High School, located in Minami Ward, paid a visit to the Catholic Hiroshima Diocese, in Naka Ward, on November 11 to deliver copper cranes that they made by hand as gifts for the Pope. The students said, “As high school students from Hiroshima, we have imbued our hope for peace into these cranes.” The church staff will give the cranes to the Pope on November 24.

The cranes that the students made at the request of the diocese are about 15 centimeters wide and 8 centimeters high. They used copper roofing material from the Memorial Cathedral for World Peace, in Naka Ward, which was built in 1954 to wish for peace in the world and to console the atomic bomb victims. The students will give the Pope a set of two cranes: one with a naturally weathered copper texture and the other a bluish-green crane.

On this day, seven third-year students in the Mechanical Engineering Program visited the Catholic Church in Nobori-cho with their teacher Kazunori Sawada, 51, who taught them how to form the cranes. In front of the cathedral, the students handed three sets of cranes in plastic cases to Bishop Mitsuru Shirahama, 57.

One of the students, Kaito Kamei, 18, a resident of Naka Ward, said, “We have learned about the horror and misery that resulted from the war in our peace studies class. We created these cranes with the hope that a world can be created where there is respect for every single person.” Bishop Shirahama said with appreciation, “The appearance of the old copperplate seems to represent the desire for peace which has grown deeper and deeper over time. I will certainly convey your thoughts to the Pope.”

The Hiroshima Diocese will present a set of cranes to Pope Francis when they see him off at Hiroshima Airport after he finishes meeting with A-bomb survivors at the Peace Memorial Park, in Naka Ward, on November 24. They will consider where to donate the remaining two sets of cranes.

(Originally published on November 12, 2019)