Remembering September 11th
Last weekend, I offered Mass at historic St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street downtown.
You might recall that on 9/11 and in its aftermath, this venerable church served as a sanctuary, first-aid station, hospice, relief center, and even a mortuary. It was here that the body of Father Mychal Judge, the fire department chaplain, among the first to die in the attack, was reverently placed upon the altar.
My first 9/11 here in New York nine years ago had me at St. Peter’s as well. Never will I forget the wise comment of the pastor at the time, Father Kevin Madigan. Addressing me, he remarked, “Archbishop Dolan, 9/11 was Good Friday again here in New York; but the story we need to remember is actually 9/12, a real Easter, as this community rose in rescue, relief, support, rallying, and rebuilding.”
During the Mass last weekend at St. Peter’s, I also blessed restored statues moved from the now closed Chapel of St. Joseph nearby, including that of St. Michael the Archangel – the protector of police officers and defenders of public safety – and St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters.
We of course prayerfully remembered with sorrow, reverence, and love, those who had perished that unforgettable day, and their families who still grieve, along with those who have since lost their lives due to illnesses contracted during the rescue and recovery efforts that followed. I did that as well this morning here at my Mass with brother bishops meeting in Washington, D.C.
I am proud to be a pastor here.