What got me choked up this morning was the kid– who looked to be barely a teenager. I had tuned into the September 11th Memorial on television and there he was up on the dais in Lower Manhattan reading the names of the victims – including his father – savagely killed by terrorists today 13 years ago. As the names flashed by that I felt connected to – cousins Brett Bailey and Bobby Coll – who’s grandparents were parishioners of mine – I remembered being at their memorial Masses. (We couldn’t have a funeral at the time since their remains hadn’t been recovered) While a flood of memories and questions about both of their families ran through my mind, the image of Bobby’s baby son in his mother’s arms at that Mass is what really came back to me. He’s a teenager by now. Probably around the same age as that other young man reading names up there.
It will forever be a day when I think of the brave men and women of the FDNY, NYPD & PAPD and their selflessness and sacrificial acts to serve their fellow citizens; I will think of my brother priest Fr. Mychal Judge, the Catholic priest, the Franciscan Friar and FDNY chaplain who was killed that day ministering to people at that tragic site who is listed as the first official victim of the 9/11 attacks in NYC; I will think of the victims — that seemingly endless litany of names that take over 3 hours to read each year who’s lives were robbed from them from evil people; and I will think of the families — and kids, like that teenager – who never got to know their mom or dad because of that day.
As I was looking on my hard drive for something, a homily I had to deliver a week after 9/11 (which I thought had been lost) I discovered… thought I would re-post it here. That evening with over 1,000 people packing our Church and the silence of those 1,000 people gathered together are another vivid memory.
OUR LADY OF LOURDES CHURCH, West Orange, NJ 07052