Sunday, September 11, 2011

Heroes of 9/11 - Fr. Mychal Judge

Father Mychal Judge was nicknamed "The Firemen's Friar". On 9/11, he did what he always did whenever he heard of fire in his area--he rushed to the scene to be with the firemen and the first responders who would be risking their lives to save others.
"Mayor Giuliani recalls that they were both down there very early in the event and the mayor saw him run by with the firemen," says Father Duffy. "Giuliani says he grabbed his arm and stopped the friar, saying, 'Mychal, please pray for us.' And Mychal just looked at him with a big grin and said, 'I always do!' And then he turned and ran off with his firefighters, right to the tower, and that's where he died."

There were conflicting early reports of the exact circumstances of Judge's death. Cassian Miles, O.F.M., communications director for the Holy Name Province, confirmed with the fire department battalion leader on-site at the World Trade Center that Mychal indeed was anointing a firefighter and the woman who had fallen on the firefighter. Father Judge had removed his helmet in prayer and was struck in the back of the head by falling debris. Judge's body, according to Father Miles, revealed severe injury to the back of the head.

Duffy, in his homily, told what happened next:"The firemen took his body and because they respected and loved him so much, they didn't want to leave it in the street. So they quickly carried it into a church and not just left it in the vestibule, they went up the center aisle. They covered it with a sheet. And on the sheet, they placed his stole and his fire badge. And then they knelt down and they thanked God. And then they rushed back to continue their work.
Often overlooked in the reporting and reminiscences of 9/11 is the fact that many people leapt to their death rather then face whatever sort of hell they were confronted with. In this case a woman who had leapt to her death and landed on a firefighter, killing him, also was being given last rites by the chaplain when parts of the building landed on him.

More on Father Judge from Peter Johnson Jr. of Fox News.

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