Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering the New York Martyrs

An image I produced 13 years ago, with Mary and Jesus replacing the Twin Towers
This is an article I wrote 13 years ago in my parish Bulletin:
It is truly heart-breaking following the events of September 11, 2001! All we can do right now is pray, as we follow the aftermath of the catastrophic tragedy on TV. People have been crowding to our Churches, as Friday the 14th is a National Day of Prayer and Mourning for the victims. The rest of the world joined in solidarity and prayer, and the whole of the United States is grateful for the world-wide support that we're receiving right now.
The heartbreaking stories we're hearing are truly the man from Fishkill who was buried but was able to get out alive, with minor scratches. Or the CEO of Cantor-Fitzgerald who lost all 700 of his employees who were on the very top floors of one of the Twin Towers, including his brother. He survived simply because he took his daughter to her first day of Kindergarten, and was heading towards work when the tragedy happened. Or the young woman who called her husband in California frantically just before she died, leaving simply a message "They bombed us. I'm going to die. I love you always." Or the Fire Department Chaplain Fr Mychal Judge OFM, who was administering last rites when he was hit by a falling body and other debris. Or so many others who were writing E-mails or sending Instant Messages while the planes crashed into their buildings.
Or the people who died on the planes, like the Priest from Massachusetts, who just found a last-minute seat to go and see his sister in Los Angeles, only to die half-an hour later. Or the three children with their teachers who had won a National Geographic Competition and were experiencing part of their reward on the plane.
The feelings of people here had changed from disbelief to shock on the first day, from anger to numbness on Wednesday, from patriotism and prayer to unity and collaboration today and in the weeks to come. In the midst of all this chaos and darkness, we cannot give up hope. As the motto of the Christophers says, "we have to light one candle instead of cursing the darkness." We have to look for something positive, instead of criticizing how terrible everything around us is. We have to look forward to continue to unite the country and the world, not be divisive by searching for opportunity for revenge.
May God continues to bless the generous and hardworking firefighters, police-officers, volunteers and medical teams who are helping with the recovery process, which could be very long, tiring and extremely discouraging.
May God give eternal rest to all the victims, and strength to their families and loved ones. These are the new American Martyrs, or better yet, the New York Martyrs, whose feast should be inserted in the Liturgical Calendar for September 11th.

Gone, but never forgotten
We pray today that from the ashes will rise a new spirit of beauty and unity in America.
Already, all across this nation our hearts have been knit together into a new tapestry of one America.
Because of this tragedy, we have been bound together by a silver chord of hope and brotherhood and sisterhood.
What was meant to drive us apart has really drawn us together. May we always remember.
And so today we ask, God, that you would wipe the tears of all in need of comfort.
That you would warm the heart of one who would grow cold from bitterness.
That you would lift the head of that one who is bowed down in sadness.
That you would touch the discouraged and remind them that love will always conquer hate.
We thank you, God, for making us such a resilient people. We know that we are.
And we pray now for the strength to rise again, to build again, and to live free from fear.
We pray that you will help us rebuild our broken lives and mend our broken hearts.
We pray that you will give us the courage to face evil and the faith to believe that good will never be defeated. Hold us close to your heart.
And through our tears, and through our sorrow, may we all see a new vision of a new tomorrow.
Bless us all and God bless America.

Beams of Light, that will never fade away

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