Weekend Refection (September 11/12)
Dear Brothers and Sisters.
As we remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I’m conscious that so many of our parishioners and our local community were directly affected by the turbulence. Indeed they still live with the consequences of those evil actions of destruction and murder. This weekend as we celebrate mass, we remember all those who lost their lives, and all those who suffered, who lost family and friends. As I have tried to gather my own thoughts about those days of grief and loss and love I came across this reflection by a brother priest. I’d like to share it with you as I find much solace in it.
We say we will remember, but I am not sure we have. We recall the faces in the New York Times, but we cannot live at the intensity of those days. Just watching the news at night brought tears. It was a time of great pain and great love. It was a time of testing and a time of faith. It was a time of endings and beginnings.
I remember accompanying two Fire Department officers to notify the wife of a deceased firefighter. We entered an apartment filled with people. I sat next to the wife on the sofa and, after listening to the officers for a while, she said to them, "I've been asking you questions for 10 minutes, I'm sorry, are the two of you alright?" I was mesmerized. What concern for others at a time she had every reason to be self-absorbed! I remember when Our Lady of Angels Parish buried one of the first firefighters recovered. After communion, someone asked all the uniformed officers present to assemble outside the church. As they got up to leave, all 1,000 in attendance at the Mass spontaneously rose and faced them and applauded as if to say, "Thank you for risking your lives for us."
I remember that there were far too many children left fatherless and motherless. I will always remember the outpouring of love, faith and courage witnessed during those days. I remember in January 2002, going to New Jersey where the debris had been gathered from the World Trade Center. We were looking for a "cross." We found a crossbeam, but what I remember was the mountains of everything: elevator cables, I-beams, concrete encrusted steel everywhere. The small "cross" seemed so insignificant in the midst of the wreckage. On a deeper level, the "cross" gave meaning to the mountain.
In "Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring," Henri Nouwen said: "Not only the death of Jesus, but our death, too, is destined to be good for others. Not only the death of Jesus, but our death, too, is meant to bear fruit in other peoples' lives. Not only the death of Jesus, but our death, too, will bring the Spirit of God to those we leave behind. ... Thus God's Spirit of love continues to be sent to us, and Jesus' death continues to bear fruit through all whose death is like his death, a death for others."*
The deaths of those who died on 9/11 continue to bear fruit. They left a legacy of love, so what I remember most of 9/11 is the love… always the love.
Father James E. Devlin is pastor of Good Shepherd Parish in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
*"Our Greatest Gift:A Meditation on Dying and Caring," (San Francisco: San Francisco Harper, 1994, p. 108)
With Love and Blessings,
The 2021 Mass intentions are currently all filled. We are offering unannounced masses and Memorial Mass cards at the rectory office. Our 2022 mass intention book will open in November 2021.
As a reminder, our parish has obtained access to Bishop Barron's
Word on Fire
video library for all parishioners and we can view any of his incredible series. A group of about 70 parishioners has been watching a video a week virtually. We've just started Bishop Barron's first series,
, a beautifully filmed and powerfully delivered overview of our faith. Please join us by texting the word BARRON to 84576 or go to
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Do you know someone that is in need of prayers?
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Add their name to our Virtual Prayer Book
. During the Prayer of the Faithful we will include them collectively by saying, "all those listed in our virtual prayer book" and they will be included along with all of the intersessions we are praying for during mass.
215 Essex Avenue
Spring Lake, NJ 07762
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on Sunday, September 12 at 6:24PM