“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...Father Mike was a chaplain of the Fire Department of New York City beginning in 1992 and was recognized as the first official victim of the 9/11 attacks. On that day, when he heard that the World Trade Center had been hit, Father Mike rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Hee administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, and went to the command post in the North Tower to see where he could assist.
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 those who have gone before us.
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. 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 fire house, God's blessings go forth in this community. It's fantastic!”
When the South Tower fell, debris from the tower entered the lobby and many were killed including Fr. Mike. A NYPD lieutenant, who was also buried in the debris, found Fr. Mike's body and then assisted by two firemen and two others, carried his body out of the North Tower lobby using a chair and took him to nearby St Peter's Church. The picture of that scene has become one of the iconic photographs from 9/11.
His story stays with me, because his life speaks of how we are to live with one another. A man who rushed to do his duty, to be a prayerful presence in the midst of crisis. A man who loved his neighbor, who cared for the fire fighters under his care, and as a Franciscan monk, he also looked out for those in need in his community.
The words he spoke are just as true for us today as they were 13 years ago in NY. God needs you and God needs me; Keep supporting each other. Be kind to each other. Love each other. From what you do, God’s blessings will go forth into our community.