Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Did you watch the various programs about the terrorist attacks of 9/11 this weekend? I caught a few on the National Geographic Channel. The amount of detail was astonishing. I heard for the first time, many of the personal phone calls made by people trapped in the Twin Towers and on the various airplanes used as weapons by the Al-Qaeda. I am still shocked when I see the the planes flying into the Twin Towers. The Catholic News Service also recently ran an interesting story about Fr. Tom Iwanowski, who is pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Oradell, NJ. For Jersey City residents living near Our Lady of Czestochowa (where Fr. Tom previously served), the absence of the twin towers of the World Trade Center -- which had been a dominant point of reference on the horizon -- is a constant, sad reminder of the brutal murder of 3,000 innocent people, including more than 670 from New Jersey. "As the afternoon progressed, people came to seek consolation in church and comfort in the rest area we had so quickly set up," Father Iwanowski said. "We had workers from Manhattan. We had residents from Battery Park City. We had folks from a hotel in Manhattan who arrived in their sleepwear. We had 22 students from the High School of Economics and Finance. The students literally had no idea where they were. They ran for their lives and headed for the river. The spirit of God was working in me and the parish staff members that day," he said. "God used us to be the light in the darkness. We simply reacted to the situation. Somehow we knew what we had to do. It was instinctive. How could anyone be prepared for such an event?" he asked. "The only thing you can do is be open to God. There's a sense of prayerfulness; you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you can do something to answer the prayers of others." Turning from death to life, I wanted to share that Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, presented the People of Life award to three individuals for their lifetime commitment to the pro-life movement at a recent ceremony in Houston. Those honored were Professor William E. May, Msgr. Philip J. Reilly and Patricia Bainbridge. The People of Life Award recognizes those who have answered the call outlined by Pope John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed on occasion to a practicing Catholic in honor of his or her significant contribution in service to the culture of life.