WASHINGTON (September 1, 2004) — Masses, rallies and a dedication of a memorial are among events planned for dioceses and parishes in the United States and at North American College in Rome to mark Patriot Day, September 11.
The annual event, which was established in 2002, commemorates those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Some celebrations will incorporate honoring victims of the attack into the dioceses' annual Blue Masses, which honor all police, fire and emergency medical technicians.
In the Archdiocese of Miami, the Blue Mass will be held at St. Maximilian Kolbe parish in Pembroke Pines, Florida. After Mass, a monument will be dedicated to Franciscan Father Mychal Judge, the New York Fire Department chaplain who died administering last rites to attack victims at the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. Other dioceses to remember 9/11 victims at their annual Blue Masses include the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, will commemorate 9/11 at its third annual September 11 memorial event. The archdiocese, which had received two 20-foot steel World Trade Center beams, incorporated them into the Memorial Bell Tower at Sacred Heart Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas, on the eve of Patriot Day, Bishop Michael Pfeifer will host a ceremony at the diocese's memorial monument, which was created with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center structure. The ceremony will include a poem written by a local English professor that was set to music and sung by a church choir.
In Italy, students and faculty from Rome's North American College, including some military chaplain candidates, will participate in a Patriot Day Mass at the U.S. military cemetery in Nettuno, Italy. The Mass will be celebrated by Father Peter McGuine, vice rector for student life at the college and a chaplain major in the United States Air Force Reserves.
In the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, Bishop Gerald Barbarito will celebrate Mass as part of a Patriot Day Rally organized by the Knights of Columbus. After Mass there will be a recognition ceremony for all those who gave their lives on 9/11 as well as all U.S. patriots from the beginning of the nation.
Church involvement in 9/11 activities has been extensive. Most dramatic have been the stories of priests at the attack sites in 2001. Their accounts can be found in We Were There … Catholic Priests and How They Responded in Their Own Words, which can be found at http://www.usccb.org/vocations/wewerethere.htm.