The now-famous first fatality of 9/11 delivered these remarks the day before he died, at FDNY Engine 73, Ladder 42, Bronx, NY.
Good morning, everyone.
May the grace of God the Father, peace of God the Son, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
We come to this house this morning to celebrate renewal, rejuvenation, new life. We come to thank God for the blessings over all the years – the good work that’s been done here and especially the last few days. We can never thank God enough for the reality of the lives we have. So, standing in His presence this morning, and truly this is a chapel, let us pause for a moment, perhaps close our eyes, and thank God for some special blessings in our individual lives.
Let us pray.
Thank you Lord for life. Thank you for love. Thank you for goodness. Thank you for work. Thank you for family. Thank you for friends. Thank you for every gift because we know that every gift comes from you, and without you, we have and are nothing. So, as we celebrate this day in thanksgiving to you, keep our hearts and minds open. Let us enjoy each other’s company, and most of all, let us be conscious of Your presence in our lives and in a special way in the lives of all those who have gone before us. And Father we make our prayer, as always, in Jesus’ name who lives with You forever and ever.
That’s the way it is. Good days. And bad days. Up days. Down days. Sad days. Happy days. But never a boring day on this job. You do what God has called you to do. You show up. You put one foot in front of another. You get on the rig and you go out and you do the job – which is a mystery. And a surprise. You have no idea when you get on that rig. No matter how big the call. No matter how small. You have no idea what God is calling you to. But he needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us.
The retirees – He needs your prayers. He needs your stopping by occasionally to give strength and support and to tell the stories of the old days. We need the house and to those of you that are working now, keep going. Keep supporting each other. Be kind to each other. Love each other. Work together and do what you did the other night and the weeks and the months and the years before and from this house, God’s blessings go forth in this community. It’s fantastic!
What great people. We love the job. We all do. What a blessing that is. A difficult, difficult job and God calls you to it. And then He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done. Isn’t He a wonderful God? Isn’t He good to you? To each one of you? And to me! Turn to Him each day. Put your faith and your trust and your hope and your life in His hands, and He’ll take care of you and you’ll have a good life.
And this house will be a great, great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city.
For more on Fr. Judge’s life and death, read this piece on “The Fireman’s Friar” in New York magazine.
For all we lost on that awful day: eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.