A delegation from Nagasaki Prefecture, led by the Prefectural Governor, Houdou Nakamura, attended the 10 a.m. Mass Aug. 31 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

With the cooperation of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nagasaki, the people of Nagasaki Prefecture (in southern Japan) are working together to achieve UNESCO World Heritage registration for the Churches and Christian Sites of Nagasaki, said a statement from the prefecture.

“The Church and Christian Sites of Nagasaki are important heritage assets, telling a story unique in world religious history,” said the statement. “The Christians of Nagasaki survived severe oppression, maintaining and passing on their religion in secret, and finally achieving a miraculous recovery after 250 years underground.”

Most of Nagasaki’s churches stand in beautiful natural surroundings, many sheltered in small bays on the islands.

“The local Christians poured their funds and labor into building the churches, as a symbol of their faith, despite living with severe hardship,” the statement noted. “The churches remain a hub of the physical and spiritual life of the communities.”