A September 11 Remembrance

Monday, September 11 is the 16th Anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers. Close by is St. Peter Church. The parish memorialized the event with this article taken from their parish website.

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ST PETER CHURCH AND 9/11. At 8:45am, a plane hit the World Trade Center shaking St Peter’s with a violence that caused parish secretary, Pat Ruggiero, to run outside. She saw an enormous gash, flames, and billowing smoke. Rushing back she told the pastor, Fr. Kevin Madigan, that a plane hit the building. Fr Madigan looked out of the window, saw the fire engines and ambulances, and hurried out. He was speaking with the police when the second plane crashed into the South Tower. He said, “Debris blew everywhere. I remember a wheel of the plane flying over my head”. When he returned to St Peter’s, he learned the wheel had pierced the roof. 
 
RESCUE AND RECOVERY. During rescue and recovery, Fr Madigan said Mass, heard confessions, and provided pastoral care. The church was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the end of October when martial law was lifted and workers returned to work. "We were the place to bring emergency equipment. Supplies were piled 6 feet high, bandages, gas masks, boots, hoses and food. Workers and volunteers often slept in the pews on bedrolls."

Father Mychal JudgeFATHER MYCHAL JUDGE, OFM, beloved chaplain of the Fire Dept. was early on scene, giving absolution and praying for the wounded and dying. He was in the North Tower lobby when the South Tower fell. The force blew dust and debris so violently (an estimated 100mph) that the North Tower fell. Hidden by a cloud of dust, it took a while for workers to see that Fr Judge had been struck down. Fr Kevin Smith, another chaplain, blessed the body. The Fr. Judge was carried by firemen, a doctor, police lieutenant and bystander into St. Peter’s. Resting on the marble in front of the altar, Fr Judge’s body was covered in a white cloth with a fresh stole, his chaplain’s badge, and helmet resting on his chest.  Firemen pulled two of the candles close to his body. Then at 2pm Franciscan friars carried his body to a fire station near his residence.

Just a day before Fr. Mychal gave the following sermon at Mass for NYC Firefighters at Engine 73, Ladder 42:

 You do what God has called you to do. You get on that ring, you go out and do the job. No matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea of what God is calling you to, but God needs you. He needs all of us. God needs us to support each other, to be kind to each other, to love each other. We all love this job. What a blessing! It’s a difficult, difficult job, but God calls you to do it, and indeed, He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done. Isn’t God wonderful?! Isn’t He good to you, each one of you, and to me? Turn to God each day -- put your faith, your trust, your hope and your life in His hands. He’ll take care of you, and you’ll have a good life. And this firehouse will be a great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city. Amen.   
 

WTC 9-11 CrossTHE CROSS. Ground Zero looked and felt like hell on earth. The ground was scorched, the air held the odor of incinerated materials, and was heavy with the weight of thousands of departed souls. Police, firemen, and first responders searched for survivors or remains.

A construction worker, Frank Silecchia discovered the cross in the lower core of Building 6. Fused to one side was a piece of melted metal which brought to mind the cross and shroud of the Risen Christ. Silecchia fell to his knees as did many who saw it later. Believers and non-believers came, bowed their heads or knelt. Many came back again and again to reflect, pray and hope.

Workers worried that the cross might be taken to a storage facility or destroyed, so they called the mayor’s office. Mayor Giuliani replied “We’ll keep the cross as a reminder of God’s love for us all”.  In 2011, the relic, borne of the terrible events of 9-11, was lifted by a crane, loaded onto a truck and taken to its current location at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.  

 

Heart, Soul and Mind

Monsignor Royal's weekly column as featured in our bulletin.


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