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Thursday, September 9, 2010

343 - Remembering Father Mychal Judge and those Who Perished on 9/11

The number "343" refers to the number of firemen lost on 9/11 as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center. It is an awful number to contemplate. An almost unbelievable number. Those men, weighted down with their gear, walked into a scene of carnage, smoke and fire in order to rescue 20,000 people. 20,000 people with whom they had no relation of blood or marriage or even friendship. 20,000 people for whom they were willing to jeopardize and ultimately sacrifice their lives in order to save.

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of walking with two dear friends along with members of the FDNY, NYPD and others groups from St. Francis of Assisi Church in midtown Manhattan to St. Peter's Church at Ground Zero. St. Peter's Church was the temporary resting place for the body of Father Mychal Judge, the FDNY chaplain who was killed while ministering to the firemen and others at the scene of the attack. The walk is organized every year by friends of Father Judge, including detective Steven McDonald, who are dedicated to preserving his memory and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on that terrible day.



The morning began with the Rosary and Mass. There is no escaping the fact that the faith of these men and their families plays a part in shaping their dedication and the sacrificial nature of their job. In a society that is drifting more and more into selfish self absorption, the witness of men who are willing to pull together as a team, not as individuals, and risk their lives in order to save others is a sign of hope for us all. The fact that they even have chaplains to minister to them shows that they understand the fragile nature of our hold on this world and the clear conviction that there is something and someone beyond.

The walk stopped at firehouses, at a police precinct and at a tribute to Port Authority police officers along the way. At each stop, the names of those who perished were read aloud. I couldn't help but look at the faces of the firemen on duty we saw along the way, so many of them so very young, and think of the faces of those who were lost. May their souls rest in the eternal peace of the Lord and may their families be consoled, especially as we approach this 9th anniversary of that terrible day.

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Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
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