NEW YORK — An engraved crystal sculpture depicting Mychal Judge being carried out of the 9/11 ruins was presented this afternoon to the Fire Department of New York at the fire station across from St. Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street. Jerome Massimino gave an invocation at the start of the program in which he said “Gentle and Good God, we come together today truly as family and friends to celebrate the Franciscan life and ministry of our dear brother Mychal Judge who along with firefighters of this house were the first to respond to the tragic and deadly events of Sept. 11, 2001.”
He added, “we thank you for the talent and generosity of Irish artisan Sean Egan and, most especially, we give thanks for the long and significant relationship that exists between the brothers on the north side of 31st Street and the brothers on the south side of 31st Street who live and work and share our lives together to benefit those who seek our aid and assistance in time of need.”
The sculpture was created by Irish artisan Sean Egan, a master Waterford engraver and glass cutter, who used glass scraps from the recycling bins at the Waterford factory and invested personal time after work hours. Upon discovering a glass piece that he felt resembled a church window Egan began shaping the shard into his current masterpiece, according to a Waterford spokesperson. He gathered further inspiration from the widely-publicized photograph of Mychal Judge as he was carried from from the tower wreckage by members of fire department.
The 9/11 Waterford sculpture, which took more than 200 hours to make, has an estimated value of $75,000. It shows the three towers of the World Trade Center representing the 343 New York City workers and the many others who lost their lives there on Sept. 11.
Michael O’Rourke, a New York City firefighter, was touring the Waterford factory when Egan’s project was brought to his attention. The project developed as O’Rourke, in turn, attracted the attention of Waterford and the fire department.
Egan described the project as “something that meant a lot to me personally. I really felt a strong obligation to use my talent in a creative way and to honor the fire department of New York, all of those who lost their lives in 9/11 and, of course, Fr. Mychal and his family. It is incredible to know that everyone will be able to enjoy the project after we place the piece in the firehouse.“
Firefighter Michael Pinto,who served as master of ceremonies of the 12:30 event, described to the large audience that Mychal was a “great person” who “always greeted people in a genuine way.”
“After long days, Fr. Mychal always had time to spend with members of the Fire Department,” he added. “He touched the lives of so many people. Countless times, he offered comfort to widows.”
Also participating in today’s ceremony were John Foley, chief executive officer of Waterford; Captain William Hill of Engine Co. 1; Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, and Monsignor John Delendrick, a fire department chaplain. Representatives from Holy Name’s Provincial Office and Manhattan parishes attended the event as did Dympna Judge Jessich, Mychal’s sister.
Irish music was performed before and after the ceremony by the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.
— Jocelyn is director of communications for Holy Name Province.