September 11, 2001



Parishioners watched their television sets intensely on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, when four airplanes were hijacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers turning the planes into guided missiles as they crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon. A fourth plane which was believed to be headed for the White House, crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

Father Dean remembers how in the weeks that followed there was an increase in Mass attendance, and people were trying to make sense out of the tragedy. They were also praying for God’s mercy and healing.

A year later, parishioners of St. Anthony parish were among those present at a Mass of Peace in which Bishop Fliss said,

“Those deaths were so sudden, so violent, so untimely. Those deaths were not a natural disaster, they were not some colossal accident. This was mass murder perpetrated by a fanatic group bent on destroying not only American lives but also American values and our freedoms.”

The Bishop said the victims and heroes have been called to glory — a life without tears and a lasting peace.

In finding peace, Bishop Fliss said, it is important that we cultivate the virtue of hope recognizing that God will always love and care for us. But that takes “daily perseverance through the tribulations and adversities” of life. Through it all, the bishop stressed how important it is to have a sense of humor, an upbeat personality, and a cheerful optimistic outlook on life, knowing that one has a strong relationship with God. Fliss compared such an outlook to being in the eye of a hurricane–an island of peace and serenity in the midst of the storms of life.

At the end of Mass a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. Then, in a candlelight procession and service on the Cathedral lawn, the small tree was planted as a symbol of peace.

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