NEW YORK — A brown habit was the symbol of Christianity last month when the cross-shaped steel beam known as the World Trade Center cross was blessed before being moved to its new home.
Brian Jordan, OFM, blessed the cross, found at Ground Zero in the wreckage after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, at a ceremony in lower Manhattan on July 23 in front of roughly 300 emergency workers and families of the victims. Among the attendees was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The icon was moved from its previous location next to St. Peter’s Church — the oldest Catholic church in New York City, just blocks from the former World Trade Center site — to the new National September 11th Memorial and Museum, between Greenwich Street and the Westside Highway.
Brian, who lives on New York’s Upper West Side, had blessed the beams after the attacks 10 years ago and began celebrating Mass by the cross in September 2001.
The New York native, who calls himself the cross’ “unofficial guardian,” played his own role in responding to the destruction that killed thousands, according to a recent article by Catholic News Agency. He ministered among construction workers, worked with family members and uniformed service members, and blessed “many bodies and body parts.”
“We saw evil at its worst, but goodness at its best,” Brian said. “The goodness was that Americans came together in those weeks. New York City came together in those weeks. People of all ethnic and religious groups and economic backgrounds came together. I was very proud of that.”
He said, in a quote in Newsday: “The cross is a symbol of Christianity — sacrifice, loss and renewal.” In a July 29 article in The New York Times, Brian’s disapproval of a proposed plan to legally oppose the cross was quotes.
A photo of Brian blessing the WTC Cross appeared in Newsday as well as in a CBS clip.
Brian, who was ordained in 1983, is active in helping and in advocating for a variety of communities especially immigrants and laborers. Next month, he will begin serving as religious liaison for the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO with residence at Holy Name College, Silver Spring, Md.
— Jocelyn Thomas is communications director for Holy Name Province.