Benedict XVI’s Prayer at Ground Zero

Benedict XVI’s prayer at Ground Zero:

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.

We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:

our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.

Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.

Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.

God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.

Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Michael Christopher says:

    This was a wonderful memorial seervice and I only want to draw attention to one small but significant element in the Holy Father’s prayer. In Part 3 he speaks of “our firefighters, police officers,” etc. I believe Pope Benedict is exercising his role as immeadite pastor not simply of the universal Church but of the particular church of New York. Significant and beautiful.

  2. TNCath says:

    Another defining moment! When the individuals connected with the tragedy were being introduced by Cardinal Egan, you could see the pain and concern in the Pope’s face. It was about as simple a ceremony as it could get, which made it even more powerful. Noble simplicity at its finest.

  3. EDG says:

    The cellist playing one of Bach’s unaccompanied suites (or at least that’s what I thought it was, since the newscasters never shut up long enough for me to really hear it) was a beautiful touch. I saw the Pope stop and look at the cellist and move his hand towards him – perhaps a blessing? – just before he got into the popemobile. Altogether a very beautiful and appropriate ceremony.

  4. w. says:

    I thought it was very tasteful as well. My one gripe since 9/12 has been calling this a tragedy. That sounds like some inevitable and bad event as a result of one’s own flaws, mistakes, mishaps. Perhaps I am thinking too much in terms of literary tragedy.

    The term “tragedy” seems to take away some of the evil and culpability of the perpetratos (terrorists). This act of destruction was evil. It was different than a tragedy. This was a heinous evil act and I just wish people would stop calling this a tragedy (like the victims in some way caused their own end) and instead call it what it is/was: an act of evil.

    Let’s hope there is another tradition of “tragedy” in the political/historical sense that gives greater sanction to its use with events like this one. I will stand corrected.

  5. Dustin says:

    This, I feel, was the most important part:

    “God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
    peace in the hearts of all men and women
    and peace among the nations of the earth.
    Turn to your way of love
    those whose hearts and minds
    are consumed with hatred.”

    Jesus’ admonition on the mount remains a very difficult message for some, and I’m so pleased to see HH bring a message of forgiveness, even against the evil of terrorism, to a country that needs to exercise more of it. This applies just as well to those survivors of clerical sex abuse who refuse to relinquish their bitterness (although one certainly grieves and sympathizes with them, they’ll never be able to truly heal until they begin to forgive).

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
    –Matthew 5: 43-45.

  6. Justin says:

    Everyone was genuflecting to the office of Peter. I got a lump in my throat when one of the uniformed men suffering a chronic injury from the attacks, and thus unable to walk properly, still attempted to genuflect before the Pope. Christ be with these men and women.

  7. sigil7 says:

    The Holy Father looked quite dashing in that white greca. Can’t remember the last time I saw a pope wearing one.

  8. Robert Clayton says:

    Can anyone from NY name the ‘Cellist? I wonder if a couple or more of the Bach suites were played. Perfect accompaniment to this event – very effectively replaced the silence that would otherwise have been, even enhanced the silence that was nonetheless palpable even on broadcast television.

  9. mbd says:

    Did he not wear the greca in his visit to Constantinople? I think I recall that.

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