11 September: Remembering Preaching & Prayer

Marge arrived just as we were beginning Mass, a couple dozen folks gathered that bright fall morning in the Newman Center Chapel for morning Mass. She’d heard something on the radio about a plane striking one of the World Trade Center towers. By the time Mass was over, the world had changed.

Within the hour, Deb, our liturgy director, arrived and, before even saying “Good morning,” asked, “So, what are we going to do?” Indeed, what were we going to do, how would we respond to this moment, how would we help our students respond to this moment? We did what we knew how to do, we invited students and others to gather for prayer – that night, and the next night, and on Sunday, of course.

Below are the homilies I preached at those gatherings, as well as 10 years later at a local community remembrance. There’s also a link to what was the perfect hymn with which to begin our worship that night, “Each Winter As the Year Grows Older.” I’ve also included a link to “Shelter Me,” which my friend Michael Joncas wrote in the early days of the Covid pandemic, but which resonates so perfectly with our 20 year commemoration of September 11. TL

Each Winter As the Year Grows Older by William and Annabeth Gay

Shelter Me by Michael Joncas


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