Secret Heroes at Ground Zero – UPDATED

Sister Mary Ann Walsh has a wonderful and moving piece up on the main page, chronicling the actions of some of our priests, at Ground Zero:

Afterwards, [Cardinal Egan] worked at Ground Zero, a site so contaminated that officials told him to discard all his clothes when he returned home. He anointed bodies, listened to rescuers, and consoled both the disconsolate and their consolers. He celebrated funeral Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and led prayers when President George W. Bush arrived at Ground Zero, and at an ecumenical service he organized Yankee Stadium.

Other priests sprang into action too. Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, head of Catholic Charities of the New York Archdiocese, saw that it was not just Wall Street people with significant finances who were affected. It was also those who live on the edge, such as the wait staff at Windows on the World, the restaurant atop one of the Twin Towers. Msgr. Sullivan contacted the unions and said Catholic Charities would pay the salaries for six months for restaurant workers there, who were suddenly out of work — enough time, he thought, for them to find another job.

I never knew that, did you? Ten years later, we are still learning about the ways we all tried to be there for each other — however we could.

President George W. Bush talking about the day

On a related note, Father James Martin shares some memories of death, resurrection and the Body of Christ:

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About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Anne Marie

    An event so dear to my heart, the very linchpin of my conversion and thus my ultimate reversion to The Church. Watching the towers fall I knew in an instant that evil exists and thus good must also exist. I knew that all the moral relativisim I was taught at the finest universities was was in fact a pile of crap, and that no matter where it led me I wished to seek the good for the rest of my life. And so my way on the path to heaven having begun at baptism was redirected with laser like focus in the rubble of ground zero where it turns out Jesus was ministering through his Church all along.

  • anniebird

    Anne Marie, that was beautiful. I have that same conviction – that in the midst of that evil, Jesus was present in a very real way. I remember reading an article in the Wall Street Journal in which someone who escaped the towers recounted the heroism of a man who died because he turned back to help and comfort another man whose health didn’t permit him to move down the stairs quickly. The second man was terrified and panicky – he knew he wouldn’t survive. The first said, “Don’t worry, I’m here and I will stay with you.” I read that and thought it was surely Jesus who spoke those words through him. In the midst of fire and poison smoke and terror, Jesus was there over and over again, ministering, comforting, reassuring. A real God, unmasked and obvious in His compassion for his frightened children.

  • model_1066

    Loved every second of that…in the sense that the tears in my eyes were an affirmation of my faith in the decency of people. Thank you….thank you…

  • model_1066

    Hastily typed, maybe overly hyped….but when I think about the outpouring of goodness and generosity on that day, and the selfless sacrifice of so many…I know for certain that I’m lucky to live in America…

  • sister-iwillneverforget

    I pray that Archbishop Dolan leads the WAY to PRAY at this year’s 10th anniversary memorial service. Mayor Bloomberg obviously has other plans for this..What an opportunity the Church has to lead in faith..I pray they seize it.

  • Xavier

    It’s edifying to know that Catholic Charities New York stepped in and offered support and income to the scarred, displaced and unemployed wait staff of the destroyed Twin Towers. Why, though, did the union that they’d supported with their dues leave them abandoned and in need of such help?