After 9/11 came ‘healing and life-giving love’

The win Towers, circa 1970s (Unsplash)

Melbourne Catholic Joe Doolan and his wife were living in New York on September 11, 2001, when the world watched in horror as multiple terrorist attacks took place. Source: Melbourne Catholic.

He says what has remained with him the most of that time is the Eucharistic celebration that took place a few weeks later at New York's St Patrick's Cathedral. Twenty years on, he shared the following reflection:

The Memorial Mass for those who died in the Twin Towers was celebrated several weeks later on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Though we lined up hours early to secure seats, our efforts failed for the Cathedral was almost fully reserved for dignitaries and diplomatic guests.

This Eucharistic celebration of the crucified Lord of Glory was heard by loudspeaker. Little did we know that this street would be the setting for an extraordinary spiritual event of healing and life-giving love.

The gathering song united us as we sang from shared Mass booklets. The Liturgy of the Word with its homily and intercessions was fitting in selection and theme, but nothing sharply focused my attention.

It was not until the movement from the Table of Word to the Table of Praise and Thanksgiving that my consciousness sharpened and the great prayer of praise to the Father began.

During that moment an extraordinary thing happened. The presiding cardinal commenced this prayer of offering but his voice was drowned out by an unexpected uproar.

From several blocks north came the sound of loud clapping that was slowly building and growing to a mighty ovation of exuberant shouting and cheering. The assembly participating in the Mass on the pavement, in their thousands, was on its feet, united in extended, thunderous praise.

A brand new, bright red, fire engine stopped in front of us.

The many firemen atop the vehicle smiled, waved and called to us returning our cheers and sharing our tears. Our consciousness was flooded with the all-loving presence of God sharing our suffering.


Remembering 9/11: Burdens, cares and a journey renewed (Melbourne Catholic)


Catholic leaders remember first responders, those who died on 9/11 (CNS)

‘Come From Away’ mixes 9/11 memories with tears and laughter (NCR Online)

‘Where were you?’ The staff of America remembers September 11, 2001. (America Magazine

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