Father Mychal Judge, chaplain to New York firefighters and unofficial “gay saint,” died helping others in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Father Mychal (1933-2001) was killed by flying debris while praying and administering sacraments at the World Trade Center. He was the first recorded victim of 9/11. Many people consider him a saint.
He responded quickly when extremists flew hijacked planes into the twin towers. He rushed with firefighters into the north tower right after the first plane hit. Refusing to be evacuated, he prayed and gave sacraments as debris crashed outside. He saw dozens of bodies hit the plaza outside as people jumped to their deaths. His final prayer, repeated over and over, was “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”
While he was praying, Father Mychal was struck and killed in a storm of flying steel and concrete that exploded when the south tower collapsed. Father Mychal was designated as Victim 0001 because his was the first body recovered at the scene. More than 2,500 people from many nationalities and walks of life were killed. Thousands more escaped the buildings safely.
After Father Mychal’s death, some of his friends revealed that he considered himself a gay man. He had a homosexual orientation, but by all accounts he remained faithful to his vow of celibacy as a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan order.
The charismatic, elderly priest was a long-term member of Dignity, the oldest and largest national lay movement of LGBT Catholics and their allies. Father Mychal voiced disagreement with the Vatican’s condemnation of homosexuality, and found ways to welcome Dignity’s AIDS ministry despite a ban by church leaders. He defied a church boycott of the first gay-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade in Queens, showing up in his habit and granting news media interviews. . . .
To continue reading Kitt's tribute to Mychal Judge, click here.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Mychal Judge’s Heart “There Was Room for Everyone”
Before (and After) the Poison
Karen Armstrong on the 9/11 Attacks: A “Flagrant and Wicked Abuse of Religion”
Rebecca Solnit on How 9/11 Should Be Remembered
9/11: Seven Years On
Remembering September 11 and Its Aftermath
Let’s Also Honor the ‘Expendables’
Recommended off-site Links:
The One 9/11 Memorial Photo I Think Everyone Should See – Rollie Williams (Upworthy.com, September 11, 2012).
11 Years On – Thom Curnutte (Faith in the 21st Century, September 11, 2012).