Blue Mass and remembrance. The problem: I am not a saint. [Updated with pictures/audio]

Ten years ago right now I was back at my apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, after my place of employment in Clarendon, Arlington County, was evacuated. The office building was right across the street from a major Defense Department office building, which was identified as a potential target of United flight 93.

I’ll never forget the harrowing experience of that day, seeing the smoke plume from the direction of the Pentagon, hearing the apartment windows rattle as the fighter jets broke the sound barrier on their way to intercept flight 93, hearing reports of a bomb in Foggy Bottom (where the State Department offices are), a report of a bomb at the USA Today building in Rosslyn, a report of a bomb on Capitol Hill, and the general sense of who-knows-what-is-happening?

I’m not going to try to delve too deeply into why did it happen? (sin) what have we learned? (that there are sinners who wish to inflict grave harm on us) was our military response appropriate? (I think so) or the myriad other questions. Not because I don’t have a thought or two about these questions (obviously), but because others who have more informed opinions have already said so much, and so eloquently. Check out the “9/11 Anniversary Linkfest” by Elizabeth Scalia over at Patheos for those.

But I am heading down to St. Peter’s for the annual Blue Mass that providentially falls on September 11 this year. A few members of Steubenville’s finest will join us in the choir, with one singing Amazing Grace at Communion. I doubt I will maintain a dry eye.

And in the process I will rededicate myself to becoming a saint, which, IMO, should be the lesson we all take from every experience of sin. If we all (all, universally) did that we wouldn’t have any more such horrible atrocities.

[Continued, 12:48 p.m., pictures and recording of the “Amazing Grace”]…

The moving Amazing Grace, sung by two Steubenville police officers: Amazing Grace 9/11/11

Outside St. Peter’s, after Mass:

After Mass, police officers and fire fighters are greeted and thanked. North Fourth Street was lined with fire trucks and police cruisers.

You can see the firetruck parked next to the steps, suspending an American flag above the steps.




    Dear Tom ~ In about 15 minutes our family will head towards St. Monica’s for San Francisco’s Annual Police and Fire Fighter Memorial Mass. This year is especially significant for us. In addition to the 10th Anniversary of 9-11 falling on a Sunday, we’ll also be honoring the memory of two firefighters who gave their lives in a blaze earlier this year. As you have pointed out, a large percentage of first responders happen to be Catholic. For that and many other good reasons, it behooves us to pray for their safety and intentions. ~ Pax, Greg



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