We can collectively mark the trajectory of our lives by before and after September 11.
St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Sandy Springs will ring the bells for one minute at noon in remembrance of those who lost their lives on that tragic day 11 years ago.
St. Jude’s Monsignor James Fennessy was pastor at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Lilburn on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Tuesday is traditionally my day off,” he said. “That morning, I took a sleep in and [later] had the radio on [while] shaving, and heard the news that the plane hit tower.”
Like many, the Monsignor thought it was a tragic accident until the second plane hit about seven minutes later.
St. John Neumann planned a special mass for that evening in 2001, for anyone who wanted to come for comfort. “We put a message on the answering service. The word got around and I remember the church was full,” the Monsignor said.
Parishioners were in shock, he added, and some were angry.
“I don’t remember that much at the service, just praying for the nation and the families of those who lost their lives,” he said.
Even pastors and spiritual leaders had to find a way to make sense of the tragedy.
Fennessy said, “It’s very hard. I guess the only thing I try to do is fall back on my faith in God, and try to acknowledge that I was in shock. Even today, I have no answers.”
He continued, “And sometimes we just have to believe the things we grew up with. God makes good those of evil…Those are the things that I try to say to people, That we have to place this in God’s hands.”
Coping with memories of September 11
It can be one of the most tragic days to reflect on. Yet it’s incredible, heartbreaking and amazing how some victims seemingly accepted their fate. In a Frontline documentary, “Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero,” Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, a renowned theologian, author and co-founder of the John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC. recalled a man and woman who jumped from a window, while holding hands.
Albacete said they were in the hands of love.
In the documentary, he said, “…It doesn't matter how one imagines it. Imagine it the way you want. That's the great thing about it, the way you want, but they're holding hands.
"To me, that image is an inescapable provocation. This gesture, this holding of hands in the midst of that horror, it embodies what Sept. 11 was all about. The image confronts us with the need to make a judgment, a choice. Does it show the ultimate hopelessness of human attempts to survive the power of hatred and death? Or is it an affirmation of a greatness within our humanity itself that somehow shines in the midst of that darkness and contains the hint of a possibility, a power greater than death itself? Which of the two? It's a choice. It's the choice of Sept. 11..."