Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Father Mychal Judge O.F.M. – Patron Saint of 911

(September 11th Memorial window – St Francis of Assisi Church NYC - -Father Judge depicted, lower right quadrant – click on above image to enlarge)

“…Another retired fireman, Jimmy Boyle, agrees that Father Mychal was one of the boys — but not when he was performing religious ceremonies.

"He could go into the firehouse, have a cup of coffee, have a meal, listen to all the talk, watch the ballgame, hear your problems, talk about anything you want," Boyle says. "But when he said Mass in the firehouse, I always felt when he got to the Eucharist, he just transformed himself. He became like Christ. He was just so pious."

Boyle says in any kind of emergency, Mychal Judge was a first responder. He rushed to the crash site of TWA Flight 800; to countless buildings on fire; and to hospital burn units — which is where Vina Drennan met him, in March 1994.

Drennan's husband had been severely burned the night before. Judge sat with her virtually every day, sometimes for hours, while her husband lingered.

"In 40 days he was always there," she recalls. "And when he prayed over John's burned body, you felt you had a chance that God would listen, anyway. You felt that the words were just flying right up."

For years after her husband died, Judge called just about every day. Drennan wasn't alone. Each night, the priest would have maybe 30 messages on his phone, which he'd return before going to sleep.

"Everybody called him!" Drennan says, laughing. "You know, 'Can you baptize my baby, can you do this,' and I'd say to him, 'Mychal, Jesus didn't have an answering machine! Just disconnect it!'"…--“

(Father Mychal Judge, front, FDNY Chaplain, 1933-2001, killed in the line of duty to his fellow man.)

“--"His mother always reminded him, 'You can't go wrong with a song. When you don't know what to do, sing,'" Fay says.

Judge was famous for his rendition of the murder ballad, "Frankie and Johnny," which he sang at birthday parties. He once sang "God Bless America" at the funeral of a gay man in the middle of the AIDS epidemic.--“