Remembering September 11
Father Mychal's Prayer
“Lord, take me where you want me to go;
Let me meet who you want me to meet;
Tell me what you want me to say, and
Keep me out of your way. Amen.”
Fr. Mychal Judge, O.F.M.
Chaplain, New York Fire Department killed on 9/11/2001 at the World Trade Center. Death Certificate Number 1.
This now famous prayer of Father Mychal Judge who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 will continually on my mind today as our country observes a moment of silence as we hear the names read of the almost 3000 people who died in four coordinated attacks on this country that early autumn morning. Flags are at half-staff as we travel about Little Rock.
Mychal Judge was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest serving as a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, not afraid to become part of the messiness of life. After the first attack, he prayed over bodies in the streets and then went into the lobby of the North Tower that had become an emergency command post. He was killed by flying debris when the South Tower collapsed. His biographers say his dying prayer was “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!” The iconic photograph of five men carrying his body out of the North Tower has been described as an American Pieta, another Michael’s statue of Mary holding the dead body of Jesus in St. Peter’s in Rome or a lesser known work of Michelangelo, Deposition with Joseph of Arimathea, as Barbara Crafton showed on her The Almost-Daily Emo from The Geranium Farm.
Father Mychal was also most remembered as a staunch supporter of LGBT rights as well as being a sober member of Alcoholic Anonymous for 23 years. Another 3000 were reported to have attended his funeral. Father Michael Duffy closed his homily at that service with, “We come to bury Myke Judge’s body but not his spirit. We come to bury his hands, but not his good works. We come to bury his heart, but not his love. Never his love.”
Michael Daly, Daily News (New York) , February 11, 2002.
Shannon Stapleton, September 11, 2001, Photojournalist.
Stephen Todd, Daily Ponderables, September 11, 2017.
“Slain Priest: ‘Bury His Heart, But Not His Love’ September 8, 2011, NPR Morning Edition