Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
May 29, 2011

This Saturday morning just past, at the St. Paul Cathedral, five men were ordained to the priesthood for service to our archdiocese: Jonathan Kelly, Cole Krack, Nathan LaLiberté, James Lannon, and Anthony O'Neill. Let our prayers go with them as they undertake, as newly commissioned officers in the army of Christ, their "countercultural" campaign to bring Christ's saving truth and His healing grace to a radically secularized world. In particular let us pray to Our Blessed Mother, Queen of the Clergy, to keep their hearts free from all infection of evil. Next to Our Lord Himself, Mary Immaculate is the one whom Satan rightly fears most. She, as God's holiest creature, is the antithesis of everything Satan stands for: selfless humility against self-exalting pride; inviolate purity of mind and heart against venomous incitement to lust; concern for the lowliest in their manifold need against undying hatred of the human race as bearing the image of God. A priest who is deeply devoted to Mary, the "Seat of Wisdom", will not easily be deceived by the devil's cunning.

Mary's protective power over priests who are deeply devoted to her seems to have been miraculously exemplified in the event that marked a turning point of the 20th century, indeed, of all human history: the unleashing of the atom's destructive power over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the very last hours of World War II. May I share with you an account, based on a report given by a distinguished scientist, Dr. Stephen A. Rinehart, with respect to the astonishing survival of a group of priests who found themselves not far from ground zero when atomic bombs exploded over those two cities. The account appeared in the magazine The Fatima Crusader, issue 97, 2010. Dr. Stephen A. Rinehart's impressive résumé precludes his testimony from being lightly dismissed.
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Testimonies of 8 Hiroshima Survivors
The Fatima Crusader
June 2010

The Evidence

During the Second World War atomic bombs were dropped on two Japanese cities: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An extraordinary thing happened at both sites.

A unique group of men survived a nuclear blast that killed nearly all other people even at distances over ten times farther away from the blast....

It happened twice: at the bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both sets of survivors were Catholic religious....

Over the next thirty years the survivors were examined many, many times with no ill effects found.

The Event

In Hiroshima, a small community of Jesuit Fathers [Germans allowed to live in war time Japan as citizens of an allied power] lived in a church house near the parish church, situated only eight blocks from the center of the bomb blast.

When Hiroshima was destroyed by the atomic bomb, all eight members of the small Jesuit community escaped unscathed, while every other person who was within a radius of roughly one and a half kilometers from the center of the explosion died immediately. The church house where the Jesuits lived was still standing, while the buildings in every direction from it were leveled.

This coincided with the bombing of Nagasaki where St. Maximilian Kolbe had established a Franciscan Friary which was also unharmed and also showed no effects from the Nagasaki bomb. Polish Father Kolbe, born in 1894, undertook a series of missions to Japan between 1930 and 1936, where he founded a monastery at the outskirts of Nagasaki, a Japanese newspaper, and a seminary. [Having returned to Poland,] Kolbe would die at Auschwitz in 1941, after volunteering to die in the place of a stranger at that Nazi concentration camp .... [Today he is of course a canonized saint of the Catholic Church].

Testimony of the Most Well-Known Hiroshima Survivor

Father Hubert Schiffer was one of these eight Jesuit survivors. He was 30 when the atomic bomb exploded at Hiroshima and he afterwards lived another 33 years in good health.  He recounted his experiences at Hiroshima during the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia (USA) in 1976. At that time, all eight members of the Jesuit community were still alive.

Fr. Schiffer recounted how, on the morning of August 6, 1945, he had just finished Mass, had gone into the rectory, sat down at the breakfast table and had just sliced a grapefruit, and had just put his spoon into it when there was a bright flash of light. His first thought was that it was an explosion in the harbor (this was a major port where the Japanese refueled their submarines). Then, in the words of Fr. Schiffer: "Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me round and round ae a leaf in a gust of autumn wind."

The next thing he remembered, he opened his eyes and he was lying on the ground. He looked around and there was nothing in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were leveled to the ground. The only physical harm to himself was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. As far as he could tell, there was nothing physically wrong with him.

After the end of the war, American army doctors and scientists explained to Fr. Schiffer that his body would begin to deteriorate because of the intense radiation to which he had been exposed. But to the doctors' continued amazement, his body, when tested, contained no radiation or ill-effects from the bombing.

Not only did all "The Hiroshima Eight" survive with (at most) relatively minor injuries, but they all lived well past that awful day with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible long - term defects or maladies. Naturally, they were interviewed numerous times (Fr. Schiffer himself over 200 times) by scientists and health care people about their experience.

Conclusion of the Survivors Themselves:

The eight Jesuits issued the following statement:

 "We believe that we survived because we were living the Message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary of Our Lady daily in that church house."

Fr. Schiffer felt that he received a protective shield from the Blessed Mother which protected him from all radiation and ill-effects. He attributed this to devotion to the Blessed Mother, and his daily Fatima Rosary; "in that house, the Holy Rosary was recited together every day."

Over 50 years later, scientists still cannot provide a plausible scenario to explain the missionaries' unique escape from the hellish power of that bomb. From a scientific viewpoint, what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima still defies all human logic and the laws of physics.

How does one live the Fatima Message?

People must first convert: Turn away from sin and go back to God. This entails the usual demands of the Christian life, such as prayer, reading Scripture, obedience to the commandments, concern for others. Beyond that, there are special requests from Our Lord Jesus Christ with regard to devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Daily Offering. Offer up each day whatever prayers, works, and sufferings that God requests of you personally ... for the conversion of sinners and reparation for sin.

Reparation. Pray, fast, and make sacrifices for your sins and for the sins of all sinners and unbelievers.

Eucharist. Frequent prayer, adoration and reparation before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, where He is fully present in Body and Blood, through the miracle of Transubstantiation, following His teaching the Gospel of John, Chapter 6.

First Saturdays of Five (or more) consecutive Months. On the first Saturday of five consecutive months, confess, assist at Holy Mass, receive Holy Communion, pray five decades of the Rosary, and meditate 15 minutes, undisturbed, focused on one or more of the Blessed Mysteries of the Rosary which follow relating to the Birth, Life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the special role of Mary, now Queen of Heaven. Perform all with the sincere intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of God, in order to console her for the painful thorns which surround her Immaculate Heart because of the offenses of men.

Rosary. "Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary, five decades at least-meditating on the mysteries-to make reparation for sin."

Consecration. Consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This means entrusting yourself to their care and protection. Wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of this consecration.

Testimony of Dr. Stephen Rinehart

Following is Dr. Stephen Rinehart's commentary on the subject of the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast:

"A quick calculation says at 1 kilometer the bulk temperature was in excess of 20,000 to 3 0,000 degrees F (transients in microseconds greater than 100,000 F, perhaps as high as 1,000,000 F within I kilometer -- it all depends on construction details and whether you are inside the fireball) and the blast wave would have hit at sonic velocity with pressures on buildings (at one kilometer) greater than 600 psi (i.e., 600 pounds of pressure per square inch). If the Jesuits (at one kilometer from the geometric epicenter) were outside the atomic bomb's "plasma", their residence should still have been utterly destroyed (temperature greater than 2000 F and air blast pressures greater than 100 psi).

"Unreinforced masonry or brick walls (representative of commercial construction) are destroyed at 3 psi (pounds per square inch), which will also cause ear damage and burst windows. At 10 psi, a human will experience severe lung and heart damage, burst eardrums; and at 20 psi your limbs can be blown off, at 40 psi your head will be blown off, and no human would be alive because your skull would be crushed.

"All the cotton clothes would be on fire at 350 F and your lungs would be inoperative within a minute, breathing air (even for a few seconds) at these temperatures. [There is] no way any human could have survived, nor should anything have been left standing at one kilometer."

At ten times the distance, about ten to fifteen kilometers, I saw the brick walls standing from an elementary school and I think there were a few badly burned survivors; all died within fifteen years of some form of cancer. Examining pictures taken from a panoramic view from the epicenter of the blast at Shima Hospital, looking for the Jesuits' house, one did show some kind of two-story house TOTALLY INTACT, at least from what I could make out, and it looked to me the windows were in place! Also there was a church with the walls still standing but roof gone a few hundred yards away! The Department of Defense never commented officially on this, and I suspect it was classified and never discussed in open literature. I think it is possible the Jesuits were asked not to say anything either at the time...." [Emphasis added].

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Dr. Stephen Rinehart's résumé: Currently TRW Systems Integration Group, and providing expert opinion on the BP Gulf Oil Spill, Interview  "Gulf Nuclear Option and U.S. National Emergency", June 2, 2010; Engineering Mechanics, Georgia Inst. Of Tech., Painter Award and NASA Satum/Apollo fellowship. Consultant to numerous Department of Defense contractors including Office of Nuclear Research, Defense Nuclear Agency, Naval Sea Systems Command, Air Force Space and Missile Command.

Dr. Rinehart has studied conventional and nuclear weapons development for Naval and Air Force combat weapon systems for thirty years. He is Program Manager for prototype upgrade for The Navy SEAL SDV Vehicle.
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