Today is the 21st anniversary of 9/11. We are grateful that our annual tradition of the 9/11 Service will be held today at 4 pm, here at St. Matthias. The Fire Companies of Franklin Fire District # 1 are hosting this service to honor the emergency service members who were killed on September 11, 2001, including our parishioner FDNY Firefighter John M. Collins, who graduated from St. Matthias School and Immaculata High School. Yes, we will never forget.
I’m sure you must have heard about the “Pay it forward 9/11” project. Their website: www.payitforward911.org says that this 20 year tradition was begun by American Kevin Tuerff, so we never forget the tragedy, and also to pay tribute to the heroes of Newfoundland, Canada, who showed him and the world their kindness in 2001. The town of Gander, population 9,000, took care of him and nearly 7,000 other stranded airline passengers from 90 countries for five days when US airspace was closed. Here’s how they explain their current goal: “This year, our aim is to restore the kindness and unity the world witnessed in 2002. Last year, we launched the “11 Days of Kindness and Unity” campaign and we need your help to repeat it again. Encourage houses of worship, schools and business to join “11 Days of Kindness and Unity” (Sept 1-11).” Practicing kindness and unity is an ongoing process. Hence we can be consciously doing acts of kindness and unity even after the date this project had proposed is over.
One area that will help us in this project is the way we think of and treat grandparents and elderly. Today is ‘National Grandparents Day’ – a time to honor grandparents and grand-friends for their contributions to our families, neighborhoods and communities. Pope Francis has been an avid advocate for grandparents and the elderly. He established the 4th Sunday in July as the Day for the Catholic world to celebrate Grandparents and the elderly.
Presenting the Pope’s special message to the world months in advance, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, observed: “The Pope’s message is the alternative to the culture of rejection: it helps all of us, and the elderly themselves, to understand that – far from being material to be thrown away – they have a precise vocation within our communities. In this time that yearns for peace, the Church has a great need for elders, who have the ‘gift’ of tenderness, who are able to protect and intercede.” It is good for us to read the short and beautiful letter of the Pope, available from the Vatican site at: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/nonni/documents/20220503-messaggio-nonni-anziani.html
Our Diocese of Metuchen will have the official closing and Mass of thanksgiving for the 40th anniversary of the diocese. On Saturday, September 24, 2022, Bishop Checchio will be leading a pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He will be the principal celebrant of the Pilgrimage Mass. Many busloads of parishioners from various parishes will attend this event, accompanied by many priests, deacons and religious. I’m happy that our Msgr. Brennan will be attending this pilgrimage. If any of you wish to join, it is not too late. Please contact Angela Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or transportation.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal