On the clear, sunny morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Fr. Kevin Madigan heard an explosion overhead.
He grabbed oils for anointing, ran out the door of St. Peter’s parish in New York City, and wandered towards the center of the commotion – the World Trade Center only a block away.
Fifty blocks uptown, Fr. Christopher Keenan, OFM watched with the world as the smoke rising from the twin towers darkened the television screen. Looking to help, he went to St. Vincent’s Hospital downtown to tend to those wounded in the attack – but the victims never came.
All the while, he wondered what had happened to a brother friar assigned as chaplain to the firefighters of New York City: Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, named by some the “Saint of 9/11.”
Seventeen years ago on this day, hijackers flew planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. In a field in southern Pennsylvania, passengers retook control of the cockpit and crashed the plane before it could reach its intended target, presumed to be in Washington, D.C.
The consequences of the attacks have rippled throughout the United States as the attacks spurred a new global war on terror and irreversibly changed the country’s outlook on terror, security, and international engagement.
For Fr. Madigan, Fr. Keenan and Fr. Judge, the day changed their own lives and ministries, as a pastor lost nearly his entire congregation, and a friar put himself in harm’s way to take on a new position – an assignment he only received because another friar gave the ultimate sacrifice as the Twin Towers came down.
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