Dear Friends in Christ:
Every now and then in history, something happens which creates a lasting memory. There are historic events that everyone remembers, along with exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about them. These are events so powerful and impactful that the effect is obvious. My grandparents generation would remember where they were on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, my parents would remember where they were on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated or Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, and my generation will always remember where we were during the September 11th Terrorists Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
I remember it well, almost like I have a camera picture in my mind of exactly where I was at the moment it was being reported on the news, though I wish it was never a memory. September 11, 2001, began as a typical Tuesday in Seminary. Yes I was still in Seminary on that date. We had morning Mass and breakfast as a community and I didn’t have classes until the afternoon on Tuesdays so I went for a haircut (I had a full head of hair back then). I left the Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and traveled down Commonwealth Avenue to Newton Center to the barbershop. I was sitting in the chairs waiting my turn when the little television they had came on with Breaking News. It was one of those really small, like 13 inch, televisions that people would have had in their dorm rooms. It was being reported that a small prop plane smashed into the World Trade Center North Tower at 8:46AM. It was then my turn for a haircut and as we were finishing up again Breaking News that a second plane had now struck the South Tower at 9:03AM. This was not a coincidence, and later was determined to be commercial airline planes and not prop planes. As the older guys gathered around the little television I made my way back to the Seminary, but it would no longer be an ordinary day, it would be a horrific day of watching the news, the chaos unfold in Boston and elsewhere, and a look on President Bush’s face I can still see in my mind as he was informed what was happening.
Boston, New York, our great land was under attack and sadly two of the high-jacked planes came from Boston’s Logan Airport. We gathered as a community and watched the events unfold. Passengers evacuated from the airport, high-rise office buildings being evacuated with people in tears and fearful, barricades being set-up around the Navy Yard in nearby Charlestown, planes grounded throughout the country, people stranded in places they did not expect, federal agents investigating connections and leads in hotels near the airport in Boston, and, of course, the horrific images we watched of those Twin Towers being brought down to the ground as thousands of people died. Sadness, emptiness, shock, fear filled us all as we watched the days events unfold, and what could we do…simply pray.
We, as a Seminary community, gathered in prayer. People flocked to their local churches to light candles and pray. Parishes held prayer vigils. Thousands gathered on the plaza at Boston City Hall to attend an interfaith vigil of prayer and solidarity.
In the days, weeks, and months that followed many of us learned of people we knew who were in those buildings or on those planes, we learned the stories of countless people who that day for one reason or another did not go into work, we learned of the life of Father Mychal Judge who was a Franciscan Friar and Chaplain to the New York City Fire Department who died serving his fellow firemen. It seemed as if everyone, at least up here in the Northeast knew someone or a family that was directly impacted by the terrorist attacks. What could we do to comfort them? What could we say? No one seemed to know. But we did know one thing—that coming together in prayer was a way in which we could show our love and support during such a horrific experience. It was time, perhaps like no other, when Americans were united…no longer taking political sides, no longer liberal or conservative, no longer being separated by religious beliefs…we were Americans, and united we stood, as we faced this time of peril together.
So much has changed in these twenty years. So much now divides us, sadly. But I am convinced that the compassion of Americans for one another which we saw clearly in the days after 9/11 still lives in our hearts even if it has been obscured by layers of division, bad feelings, and the like.
How can I say this? Because we have seen it! The September 11th attacks were one kind of trauma — shocking, blunt, a blur of horror — during which we united together, took down barriers, and stood in solidarity with one another.
Well we have seen this again, recently last year, when we began to face the COVID-19 pandemic. Albeit a pandemic is a slow-moving catastrophe that seems unending, but nonetheless it was something that brought us back to be united with one another, to reveal the goodness that is in our hearts, and to seek ways to stand together and overcome this pandemic TOGETHER. If you look deep enough you will see that at the core of who we are is really a desire to be united…to show care and concern for one another. We see this in the First Responders, the Teachers, and all those on the front lines who dealt and deal with COVID-19 every day. We see this every time someone chooses to wear a mask or get vaccinated, showing by their actions care and concern for those around them.
As we remember the horrific and life-changing events of 9/11 on this the 20th Anniversary, let us seek ways to bring us back to this desire to show that we are a united people, that we are stronger together, and that we care and love one another as Jesus has loved us!
Let us pray…Heavenly Father, on this the 20th Anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11, we come before you with sorrow and apprehension. We lift to You in prayer all those who died in the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon, and on United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. We entrust them to Your loving care. Console their families, friends, and all who mourn this loss. We also pray for ourselves as we seek Your strength and guidance. We recall this tragedy and stand united in need of Your assistance. Enable us, Dear God, to put an end to fear by resolving to live lives that are based on respect for one another; care and concern for our neighbors regardless of ethnicity, race, or religion. Let us resolve that in the face of hatred, we will show love; that in times of despair, we will be voices of hope; and that in times of darkness, we will be sources of light. Today we honor the memory of nearly 3,000 individuals who died on September 11, 2001, and today we resolve with the help of your Grace to truly live in such a way that we mirror the love of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
On to Parish News…
Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is hiring for two positions:
1. Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is still accepting applications for a NEW position in our Parish Office. We are seeking an individual to work a few hours on the weekend to be more accessible to our parishioners who are seeking Mass cards, sponsor certificates, or any other hosts of items. This is a Part-Time Position for Saturdays from 9:30a.m. until 12:30p.m. year-round. Applicants must be over the age of 18, have phenomenal interpersonal skills, basic computer skills, and have a desire to help others. Any interested persons are asked to email a resume to email@example.com. Applicants also must be comfortable with dogs since Fenway spends most of the day in the office.
2. Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is also seeking applications for a Part-Time position in our Maintenance Department. A part-time position exists for a maintenance worker who will perform general cleaning and minor maintenance duties in maintaining the many facilities of our parish to a clean and orderly functional condition, under the direction of the Facilities and Grounds Coordinator. Duties include but are not limited to: cleaning of bathrooms, cleaning of churches, vacuuming and mopping floors, emptying trash receptacles, outside grounds maintenance, light painting, snow removal during the winter months, and other tasks as arise within the parish and school facilities. The position is 25 hours a week. Previous maintenance and/or custodial experience is preferred. Any candidate interested is asked to contact the parish office at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more detailed job description.
PARISH PICNIC…Don’t forget our Parish Picnic is next SUNDAY! Picnic sign-ups continue this weekend. Sign-up to register yourself and/or your family by clicking this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b044fa9ac2eabff2-parish1. Signing-up helps to ensure we properly prepare. REMEMBER IT IS FREE TO ALL PARISHIONERS!!! The cost of the picnic falls in part to our parish budget, in part to in-kind donations of food, flowers, and other items from local businesses, and in part to the financial donations of generous parishioners. If you are able to help in any way to keep the costs of this picnic down by making a personal donation please contact me or simply put it in an envelope marked “Parish Picnic” at any Mass. Make sure to join us for this spectacular afternoon of faith, food, fun, and fellowship! If you wish to volunteer in any way to help make this Picnic a success for our parish family please click this link:
FAITH CELEBRATED DURING OUR OUTDOOR MASS…PLEASE join us for an outdoor Mass at 10:30AM on the patio with seating on the baseball field behind Saint Bridget School. We ask that you reserve the seats on the driveway behind the school near the altar area for the outdoor Mass for our “aging parishioners” and those who may not be able to make it down to the field. ALL are encouraged to bring your family blankets, and lawn chairs and set up on the field just in front of the patio area where Mass will be celebrated. At Communion time we will have volunteers with golf umbrellas accompanying those distributing Holy Communion.
FUN, FOOD, and FELLOWSHIP!!!
FUN— During the afternoon we will be entertained! Father Federico is even trying to plan a Cornhole Competition to take place during the Picnic. If you have a set of Cornhole Boards that we can use that day please call the Parish Office. We will also have a DJ, in addition to bounce houses for the children, various sports and activities on the field, and more!
FOOD— we will have hotdogs, hamburgers, barbecue chicken, pulled pork from two pigs that will be roasted on Church property!, peppers and onions, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, tomato and cucumber salad, various deserts, and water!
FELLOWSHIP—DON’T MISS OUT ON THE FUN AS WE GROW TOGETHER IN FAITH!!! What a great opportunity for parishioners of all ages to come together and get to know one another! IT REALLY IS AN AWESOME DAY, PLEASE COME!
Lastly, and most importantly please remember to pray! Pray for good weather that day and pray for all those who donate their time, talents, and treasure to making our picnic a tremendous success. Without them we could never have such an awesome event, I truly hope to see you and your family there!
As always, remember to pray for vocations, pray for our young people, pray for our parish families and ask God’s blessings as we strive to build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.