As the pain of Sept. 11, 2001, slowly begins to fade, ministries throughout the Province are keeping alive the memory of those who perished through Masses, walks and other events.
Among the events that took place to commemorate were services in New York and New Jersey.
In Pompton Lakes, N.J., parishioners of St. Mary’s Parish, where Frank Sevola, OFM, is pastor, participated in an event on Sept. 4 organized by the borough. People gathered at the municipal building across the street from the church for a welcoming by the mayor and reflections by local civic and religious leaders. Those speaking included Richard Husted, OFM, and Gonzalo de Jesus Torres, OFM.
In Paterson, N.J., the community of St. Bonaventure Church, whereChristopher VanHaight, OFM, is the pastor, remembered the victims at its 11:30 a.m. Mass on Tuesday. Parishioners then went to nearby Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and held a prayer service at the grave of Mychal Judge, OFM, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Catholic News Service produced a short video on the day’s events.
In New York City, St. Francis of Assisi parishioners and others from the area participated in the 10th Annual Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, Walk of Remembrance on Sept. 9. After the 9:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by fire department chaplain Christopher Keenan, OFM, the walkers proceeded from the Midtown church to Ground Zero, stopping at firehouses and police precincts for prayers and Scripture readings. The walk was coordinated by members of the New York City police and fire departments.
On the morning of Sept. 11, volunteers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York distributed clothing packages at St. Francis Breadline in Midtown Manhattan as part of the annual Blessed Bloomers project of Mychal’s Message, the organization founded in memory of Mychal Judge. The 9:30 a.m. annual Mass of Remembrance on Tuesday, celebrated by Christopher, drew dozens of firefighters to the historic church across from the firehouse that houses Engine 1, Ladder 24.
The St. Bonaventure University community in Allegany, N.Y., held a prayer service at the school’s 9/11 Memorial to honor those killed. F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, vice president for Franciscan Mission, led the service. Many SBU students and staff members participated, including Kevin Kriso, OFM.
Several alumni died during 9/11, including Rob Peraza, ’94, for whom the Rob Peraza Scholarship is named. His father, Robert, spoke at a memorial dinner in New York City on Sept. 4, where 1,000 persons were expected to attend. The Peraza scholarship is awarded every four years to an incoming freshman rugby player.
— Wendy Healy, a Connecticut freelance writer, is the author of Life is Too Short: Stories of Transformation and Renewal after 9/11.