A solemn ceremony took place Sunday morning at Ground Zero. In his prayer, Pope Benedict shared these words: “God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred."
NEW YORK (Catholic Online) – The Popemobile slowly drove down the ramp to Ground Zero. No cheers… no yelling… no flags… no fanfare… only the sound of a lone cello broke the silence during the arrival of Pope Benedict. This was a stark contrast to all of the other activities during the Papal visit.
Those present included police, firefighters and survivors who, only seven and a half years ago, experienced a different view of this area when two airliners collided with the World Trade Center. Representatives of those who had lost loved ones in the terrorist attack were also among those gathered, having been selected by lottery.
Pope Benedict XVI moved directly from his vehicle to the kneeler placed at the heart of Ground Zero for his visit. His prayer was not symbolic but deep and intense, extending almost two minutes in length.
Edward Cardinal Egan stood to the right of the Pontiff during the ceremony. He had been in the Archdiocese of New York for just a little over a year when the World Trade Center fell. This visit to Ground Zero must have brought back strong memories of the days that followed and the heroism displayed by the city.
After time of personal prayer, the Holy Father then was to light a candle, which proved to be a almost impossible task due to the wind. The candle finally lit, the Pope prayed a Prayer for Ground Zero:
“O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain.
“We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here- the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.
“We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
“We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
“God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.
“God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain. Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.”
Following a Papal Blessing, Cardinal Egan introduced the Holy Father to the guests who were present. Fire fighters, policemen, Trade Center survivors, and relatives of those who lost the lives individually were able to speak with the Pope. He took personal time with each, talking with them and expressing his love and prayers.
Much of the crowd lingered after the Pontiff's departure. They prayed left flowers and gifts in memory of those who perished on September 11, 2001.
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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