As September begins, ministries around the Province are holding in prayer those who died during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
More than 400 people participated in the annual Father Mychal Judge, OFM, Walk of Remembrance on Sunday, Sept. 7 in New York City. The day began with the rosary and Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in Manhattan. Mychal, a city fire department chaplain, was based there at the time of his death. After Mass, participants walked down Seventh Avenue toward the World Trade Center, stopping at firehouses and police precincts along the way for prayer and reflection.
At West 10th Street, near FDNY Squad 18’s firehouse, Christopher Keenan, OFM, FDNY chaplain and Mychal’s successor, read Mychal’s words from his last homily, given at a firehouse in the Bronx on Sept. 10, 2001.
“We can never thank God enough for the reality of the lives we have,” Chris read. “Standing in the Lord’s presence this morning, let us pause for a moment, close our eyes, and thank God for some of the blessings in our individual lives … As we celebrate this day in thanksgiving to you, keep our hearts and minds open. Let us enjoy each other’s company. And most of all, let us be conscious of your presence in our lives, and, in a special way, in the lives of all those who have gone before us.”
As the walkers approached the World Trade Center, a bell of remembrance — transported by David Schlatter, OFM — began to toll. With the deep, solemn “bong” of the bell reverberating off the surrounding skyscrapers and lingering tremulously in the air, the walkers arrived at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street, where Mychal’s body had been taken soon after his death. There, the walk concluded. Photos of this year’s event were posted on the 9/11 Walk of Remembrance Facebook page.
St. Francis of Assisi Church will celebrate the annual 9/11 Memorial Mass on the anniversary this Thursday.
“The Mychal Judge Walk of Remembrance and the 9/11 Memorial Mass continue to be important to the people of New York, especially those who lost loved ones in this tragedy,” wrote Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor, in the Sept. 7 bulletin. “As we look at the new Freedom Tower, we remember the Twin Towers and that day in 2001 that shook not only New York, but Washington, DC, Pennsylvania and the whole nation. Our gratitude is strong and extends to those who responded immediately, and those who worked so hard the days, weeks and months afterward. We continue to pray for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones.”
A Mass of Remembrance will also be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 11 at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J. Following the Mass, a special prayer service is planned for Mychal’s grave at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Totowa, N.J. The parish will commemorate all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks.
Next month, victims of the terrorist attacks will be honored during the 42nd Annual Long Beach Island Commemorative 18-Mile Run on Oct. 23 in New Jersey. The race is also dedicated to the 11 Israeli athletes slain by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Those who wish to register for the race can do so at raceforum.com/LBI.
In the Sept. 7 bulletin at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., pastor Frank Sevola, OFM, encouraged people to visit the National September 11 Memorial in New York City.
“It is a very moving and emotional place for prayer and reflection,” the friar wrote. “It is simply amazing to see the memorial pools with the names of the dead inscribed and the 400 trees planted in memory of the 400 first responders who died in that national tragedy. It’s a beautiful and peace-filled place, and I encourage you to visit.”
Frank also shared the following prayer for peace:
“Most High and Glorious God we your people gather together to honor the memory of Sept. 11, 2001. We ask you to be with us today and be with all people of good will who gather to remember the sacrifice made by so many of your children on that day and on the days, months and years that have followed. Most High and Glorious God, look down on all of us. Look down on all your children in America. Look down on your Muslim children, your Christian children, your Jewish children and your children whose faith is known to you alone. Look down on all of us and bless us, keep us in your care — teach us peace, heal us and make us one.”
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.