Media Interest in Mychal Judge Grows as Anniversary Approaches

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

As the country and the world anticipate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Provincial ministries are remembering the victims and the media are focusing on the late Mychal Judge, OFM, the New York City Fire Department chaplain who died at the World Trade Center.

Several media outlets have featured Mychal this past week. On Sept. 2, USA Today ran a cover story titled “How Sept. 11 Changed Us: Person by Person.” The article featured the stories of seven victims, including Mychal. The feature is titled “Stories of loss — and recovery.”

On Sept. 5, National Public Radio aired a story about Mychal titled “Memories of Sept. 11’s First Recorded Casualty Endure” that included interviews with Michael Duffy, OFM, and Christopher Keenan, OFM. Religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty came to New York to interview friars as well as others who knew Mychal.

Several newspapers and TV stations reported on the annual Fr. Mychal Judge Walk of Remembrance held Sept, 4 in New York City. They included CBS, NY Daily News, ABC News, and New York Post.

Catholic Digest included Mychal’s Prayer and his photo in the publication’s September issue as part of an article titled “9/11 Ten Years Later.”

Around the Province, ministries are holding a variety of events to commemorate the 10th anniversary. They include, but are not limited to:

 St. Bonaventure University in Western New York will hold a Sept. 9 campus prayer service, led by Francis Di Spigno, OFM, executive director of university ministries, at the Sept. 11 Memorial located near Plassmann Hall. Mychal, a 1957 St. Bonaventure graduate, became the first victim of 9/11 when he was killed by falling debris at the World Trade Center. Later that day, the university will hold a Mass and reflection in the University Chapel, at which Francis will preside and the homily will be given by F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, vice president for the Franciscan Mission. The St. Bonaventure men’s rugby team will host a prayer service at the Sept. 11 Memorial outside Plassmann Hall on Sept. 10.

 Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., and the New York State Museum commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Sept. 7 with the opening of the “Sometimes Words are Not Enough” exhibit. The event began with a prayer vigil and procession from Siena College’s Peace Pole to the Sarazen Student Union where the “Union Square Scrolls” will be on display.

• In Boston, St. Anthony Shrine is offering a viewing of the “We Will Remember Them” banner, a presentation on Sept. 10 and 11 of “The Saint of 9/11,” the documentary film about Mychal and a Mass of Recovery, celebrated by J. Patrick Kelly, OFM, director of the shrine.

• In New York City, St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street is celebrating a special Mass at 11 a.m. on Sept. 11, presided by Christopher Keenan, current chaplain for the FDNY. The parish created a Mychal judge memorial page on its website. The parish’s Sept. 4 bulletin features on its cover the Sept. 11 memorial window that appears in the vestibule of the lower church.

• In New Jersey, a 10th anniversary memorial prayer service is planned for 1 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Mychal’s grave in Totowa, N.J. “Thanks to the kindness of David Schlatter, OFM, one of the Bells of Remembrance will be present,” said Daniel Grigassy, OFM, pastor of St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson.

Several friars are attending the FDNY Memorial Service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 10.

Reports about how ministries around the Province are observing the anniversary will be featured in a future issue of HNP Today. The HNP Communication Office invites announcements about Sept. 11 commemorations to be posted on the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province Facebook page.

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas