Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 -- From the Bookshelf

Everyone can remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  If each person in America had documented that day in a journal, it is sure to fill too many volumes to fit in one library.  Not to take away from what anyone felt, but everything that needs to be said has been said by many.  Each person in their own way will remember September 11th.    There have been many biographies, fiction and nonfiction books dealing with the historic date in America's history.  Each are fascinating in their own way.  However there  will is one book that has been lost in the shuffle and perhaps it's time to refresh the memories for some readers.  Michael Ford's book  Father Mychal Judge: An Authentic American Hero (2002)  is a book worth reading from the stand point that the good Father was a victim at Ground Zero.

Father Judge's story is one that is truly inspirational.  He loved his vocation of priesthood in the Franciscan order.  How people remember him is exceptional because each story is one of a man who demonstrated compassion, forgiveness and taking care of the poor.  His last earthly act was in giving Last rites to those who were dying in the World Trade Center.  This is where he died.   The picture of the fireman carrying his body out of the building was sobering and spiritual as well.   If one is in need of a good spiritual story on this day of national remembrance.  This is it.

There is one "startling" fact that was added to the book that  caused debate.   Ford decided that it was pertinent to add in the book that Father Mychal Judge was gay.   This fact has been disputed by both sides, Conservative Catholics and Progressive Catholics.   Friends who knew Father Judge have said he told them privately that he was gay.  Others believe that the idea that he was gay stems from his involvement in the LGBT community.   At first the reader may think that this fact was added in hopes to sell more books and maybe even make a statement against the Catholic Church.  If one really looks at the heart of the story they will find that this is a story of fellow citizen who gave up his life to serve others in the only way he knew how.   It could have easily have been a favorite pastor in any parish in any town in America.  On that day, it happened to be a Franciscan Priest from New York City  Father Mychal Judge's sexual preference is not what was important  What was important was that a very good man died and his memory should be honored along with the many heroes and heroines who died that day.

RIP Father Mycahl Judge. As they say in the Catholic Tradition, Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him.
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