Fr. Peter Daly
Sept 12, 2001
Like everybody else, my plans changed.
On September 11, 2001, I was
supposed to be on my way to
But after the mass the stained
glass artist called. She was leaving
I ran to the TV. From that moment on, I was transfixed. The
People I knew were at both
places. My sister lives about a mile from
My instinct was to call on the
phone, but the TV was asking us to stay off the phones. I tried calling but the circuits to
We canceled our evening religious education classes. We figured that neither the children nor the teachers could concentrate.
Our parish DRE went home. Her 18 year-old daughter works on Capitol Hill. She was evacuated. Her daughter was beside herself with worry about her fiancé in the Marine Corps.
Everybody was worried about somebody.
The phone started ringing. People wanted to know if the church was open so they could say a prayer or light a candle.
People kept coming by to pray. All the candles in our little chapel were lit. A small group, assembled to pray the rosary.
reassured by the presence of the church in the crisis. I saw a priest anointing
the injured being brought to St. Vincent’s Hospital in
When members of Congress assembled
on Capitol Hill, I was pleased to see the Chaplain of the House, Fr. Daniel
Coughlin, standing behind the speaker.
He led the Representatives in singing “God Bless
I couldn’t help wondered about the perpetrators of these terrible acts. Were they believers in God? If so, did they really think that they were doing something pleasing to God?
At supper, a man came by the
rectory and asked me to pray for his daughter, who was assigned to the triage
There was a huge desire to do something. It seemed that the most useful thing that we could do was pray. On Wednesday, September 12, we held a special mass and prayer vigil. About 150 people came. An impromptu choir assembled.
We prayed for peace, justice and calm. We prayed for the victims and their families. We prayed for the rescuers. We also prayed even for our enemies, as our Lord asked us to do.
Now we wait and hope. We wait for the next act in this unfolding drama. We hope that the dogs of war will not be unleashed and that there will be no more acts of terror. We also hope that no one will use these events to persecute innocent Moslems or Arabs. So far, the Mosque in our community seems to be safe.
Today, in our little town, just about everything is the same. But, like I said, plans have changed. Perhaps forever.