NEW YORK — Among the many commemorations held this month to remember the seventh anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks were several at the Province’s “motherhouse,” St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street.
The annual Mass of Remembrance was celebrated at 9:30 on Sept. 11. After a welcome by pastor Jerome Massimino, OFM, Christopher Keenan, OFM, the fire chaplain of the Fire Department of New York, presided.
Christopher said, “As we gather here, we believe that those who we loved and lost are here with us.”
He reminded people that “each one of us is always in God’s unconditional grace” and “life is for the living.” He also encouraged the congregation to “keep carrying on.” He emphasized the importance of forgiveness.
In addition to rows of firefighters, Dympna Judge, twin sister of Mychal Judge, OFM, was at the Mass.
Other commemorations took place on the midtown street that is home to the firehouse where Mychal was based. Battalion 7 on West 31st Street includes four firehouses, Christopher said.
The bells of remembrance, which were outside the church all morning, were rung at the moments that the four hijacked planes crashed and the towers collapsed. Each year, David Schlatter, OFM, the vicar of Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., transports these large bells to various locations from their home base in Wilmington, Del. He also displayed them this year in Boston at St. Anthony’s Shrine. On the two bells are the names of all who died on Sept. 11. In photo above, David talks with Dympna Judge.
An organization named in honor of Mychal distributed “blessed bloomers” to guests of the St. Francis of Assisi Church breadline, beginning at 7 a.m. on Sept. 11.
“When we first visited the breadline in 2002 to give out socks, one of the men on the line quietly pulled my mother aside and asked if we had any underwear,” explains Mychal’s Message Co-Founder Kelly Ann Lynch. “We came back to the breadline the next time with ‘blessed bloomers,’ and we’ve been doing it ever since.” This year, Mychal’s Message distributed more than 800 packets of underwear, including an undershirt, two pairs of briefs, a pair of socks, mints and a prayer card with “Father Mychal’s prayer.”
According to Michael Carnevale, OFM, of St. Francis of Assisi Church, the breadline has been seeing larger than usual numbers recently, with as many as 450 people a day in a recent week.
Later that morning, representatives of Mychal’s Message sold copies of He Said Yes, the children’s book about Mychal, in the reception area of St. Francis Church. It was written by Lynch. She and her mother and other supporters of Mychal’s Message used this book-signing as an opportunity to distribute literature about the organization and to sell T-shirts.
Many other events to commemorate Sept. 11 were held at parishes and ministries of the Province.
In photo behind, Jerome Massimino stands near Kelly Lynch and her family after the ringing of the bells of remembrance.