Published September 13, 2007
This week most of us will spend at least a few seconds thinking about where we were six years ago on Sept. 11. It is a date that has changed all of our lives much like Dec. 7, 1941, changed life for our parents and grandparents.
It is a moment to reflect prayerfully on the way our world has changed since then. Above all, it is an opportunity to pray for a wide variety of needs. First and foremost let us pray for peace and for the safety of those who serve in our military and whose lives are at risk. We pray for the families of our military personnel who endure the anxiety of worrying about their loved ones. We pray for peace in the Middle East and for all those people who suffer the ravages of war and violence. We pray for a deeper and more successful understanding among Christians, Muslims and Jews—people of the three great religious families of the Western world.
In a community as diverse as the Archdiocese of Atlanta, there are bound to be numerous personal stories of loved ones and friends who may have lost their lives during the terrible events that took place in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania that day six years ago. Those personal stories each deserve a moment of prayer on our parts for all those who suffered because of the violence of that day.
Many of our priests will be on retreat this week at the monastery in Conyers. This quiet time of prayer will provide them ample opportunity to pray not only for their own parishioners, for their own growth in holiness, for our entire presbyterate but also for the individual prayer requests that people so often share with us as their priests. September 11 is not a civil holiday, but it undoubtedly ushers in a profound sense of national meditation and reflection. It will never be just another day in the calendar for any of us.
As I sat in the main conference room of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., that Tuesday morning of Sept. 11 and heard the successive reports of the planes crashing into buildings and the missing jet that eventually crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, I had no idea that as a nation we would still be reeling from that violence six years later. Countless families have been touched by those events in ways that many of us will never fully realize.
Let us pray for all those people who lost a spouse, a child, a friend, a neighbor, a colleague.
Let us pray for all those entrusted with bringing an effective and lasting conclusion to the sorrow of war and hatred that so threaten people everywhere.
Let us pray for this great nation of ours that we may truly be a source of hope and freedom in a world that is so different and more fragile than it was on Sept. 11, 2001.
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!