Last month we passed the 22nd Anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Among the thousands of victims of that attack was Father Mychal F. Judge, the fire department chaplain who, while ministering to the fire fighters working at Ground Zero, was killed by falling debris from the Towers.
Fr. Judge was born in New York in 1933. He grew up in the Great Depression. His father died when he was six so he soon shined shoes at Penn Station to financially help his family. Judge decided early in life that he did not care for material things.
Fr. Mychal was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1961. In 1991 he was appointed chaplain of the NY Fire Department. He loved them and they loved him.
Judge was well known for ministering to the homeless, the hungry, recovering alcoholics (like himself), people with AIDS, immigrants, and all who were alienated by society. Once he gave the winter coat off his back to a homeless woman on the street.
When the South Tower collapsed, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many, including Fr. Judge. Later it was determined that Fr. Mychal died of a heart attack. His last words were: “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”
Shortly after his death, his body was found and five firefighters carried his body. This iconic image is akin to a modern day Pieta, a corpse cradled tenderly by those who loved him. Fr. Judge was designated “Victim 0001,” the first official victim of the attacks. His was the first body to be recorded and taken to the medical examiner.
In Father Mychal’s pocket was this prayer found after he died. He always carried it with him:
“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.”
Father Mychal was a man of commitment. He understood that the vows he took before God were not a trivial matter. He is one who said, “I’ll go, Father” – and he went.
Thanks to Soly Moses for the photo.
Try praying Fr. Mychal’s simple prayer. Wonderful things might well happen in YOUR life.
THE BEST WAY TO FIND LOVE IS TO FIND JESUS!!