I will never forget watching the horrific events of that day unfold as I watched the television along with my father and saw the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Buildings in NYC. The magnitude of the attacks was brought home all the more when I heard the news that a plane also had struck the Pentagon, and that another plane headed for Washington, DC, came crashing down in a field in Pennsylvania. Our country was in shock as we dealt with such violence and loss of life. But in the aftermath of the tragedy so many heroes emerged to aid the victims and so many people turned to God in prayer to pray for the victims and their families and to pray for peace in our world.
As I remember the impact of 9/11 on this year’s anniversary date, I cannot help but recall five years ago when the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy also fell on a Sunday. I was then pastor of St. Patrick and Blessed Trinity Parishes in Tioga County. The Owego community had planned a remembrance service for those killed in the attacks and for their families to mark the tenth anniversary. The service never took place instead the community was dealing with their own catastrophe as the flood of 2011 wreaked havoc and destruction in the region.
This year we have witnessed so many terrorists’ attacks throughout the world. The number of victims and their families to pray for seems at time to be endless. But in these trying times the need for prayer is all the more evident. So please remember to pray daily for an end to terrorism and war that peace and reconciliation may spread in this Year of Mercy.
This year we have also seen once again the destruction of “Mother Nature” as so many communities in our country have dealt with wildfires, tornadoes and flooding. The flooding in Louisiana being one of the most recent and devastating. To respond to the needs of the flood victims in Louisiana USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, has asked that all U.S. dioceses to conduct an emergency second collection nationwide. Bishop Matano in response to this request encourages all our faith communities of our diocese to consider a Second Collection to assist people affected by devastating flooding in Louisiana. The collected funds will support the humanitarian efforts of Catholic Charities USA and provide support to Catholic dioceses impacted by the disaster. And even after the request to assist the flooding victims was circulated, Italy endured the loss of life and the destructions of so many homes from a recent earthquake and are also in need of assistance and prayers.
Our parish will conduct a Second Collection at weekend Masses next weekend September 10/11 to help people in flood-devastated areas of Louisiana and provide pastoral and rebuilding support to affected dioceses. More than 60,000 homes have been lost with nearly 20,000 people rescued from flood waters. If you choose to write a check, please make it out to this parish with FLOODING in the memo/notes field. All proceeds collected will be sent to Catholic Charities USA, which is actively working in the area to provide immediate and long-term relief. You can also donate directly online at https://catholiccharitiesusa.org. Please be generous and kindly keep all those affected by the flooding in your prayers.
I know that we are asking a lot of you in giving to Second Collections this month as the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is also coming up on September 17/18. But having witnessed the destruction of flooding first hand I ask you to be generous and pray for the needs of all our brothers and sisters.
God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill