Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer at Ground Zero in 2008

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer at Ground Zero, 20 April 2008

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. AnAmericanMother says:

    Beautiful remembrance service today at our parish. Police, fire and military from all jurisdictions in strong attendance. Piper, color guard, honor guard. Heartfelt prayers.

  2. The young priest’s homily was about forgiveness, of course, though he hit all three readings; and he also preached about the Our Father, and how we won’t get forgiveness unless we forgive, and how we learn forgiveness in big things by forgiveness in small things. I thought it was an okay homily but not outstanding… but then, after his preaching about the Our Father, people said it with incredible fervor, not to mention much sniffing and tearing up. Heck, so did I! So obviously what he said hit a chord in people. I was very glad I’d gone to church instead of allowing my sadness to get the best of me and staying curled up in a sad little ball (as I’d been sorely tempted to do) with the intention of getting to church later. (When you’re depressed or brooding or such, “later” turns into “never” very easily, so it’s better to get up and get moving and not stop.)

    Most of the hymns were about mercy and forgiveness. Much enthusiastic singing (particularly after that Our Father), and then we ended with “America the Beautiful” (and an ad lib “God Bless America”, when the organist started playing people out with it as an instrumental and people sang along).

  3. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Surely Patriotic hymns are utterly out of place at Mass? God doesn’t love America more or less than He loves other countries, and the Mass is not the place to fly the banner of a country founded on pluralism and indifferentism.

    Yes, I have very definite opinions on the topic; no, I’m not being unpatriotic.

  4. daniwcca says:

    Father Z, if you get time, can you share your thoughts on forgiveness and how it applies or doesn’t to September 11th? Thank you, and God Bless!

  5. Cath says:

    Father prayed this prayer at the end of his homily. One of the best homilies I have ever heard today as well. Tied all the readings and the Our Father into forgiveness and how we are free after we forgive others. How each and every life has value and repeated that whether we live or die we are Christ’s. He spoke eloquently about the Gospel and how even within our families we find it hard to forgive. And one point I had never considered was the fact that Peter asked who is my brother. We know Peter’s brother was Andrew and how Peter represents the Western Christian and Andrew represents the Eastern. And how for a thousand years we have been divided. At the end of Mass he read the letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Archbishop Tobin.

  6. Tim Ferguson says:

    Chris, hymns of all sorts are out of place at Mass, if you want to strive for perfection. But insofar as hymns are used, especially in the recessional (when Mass is truly over), I see nothing wrong with a patriotic hymn (by patriotic hymn, I mean a hymn – a prayer to God – invoking His blessing on the country. The National Anthem, singing just the first verse as is common, isn’t really a hymn. God Bless America, America the Beautiful… those would be patriotic hymns).

    There’s a long tradition in our Church of asking, at Mass, for blessings on our nation – whatever that nation may be, and patriotism is a virtue. Until the reforms of the Mass, there were Mass texts for the Emperor or for the King.

  7. irishgirl says:

    Beautiful prayer by the Holy Father from his 2008 visit to Ground Zero.
    When I prayed my daily Rosary yesterday, I offered up a special one, in honor of ‘The Saints of New York, Washington and Pennsylvania’. I dedicated each decade to: Mary Immaculate (our nation’s Patroness, whose shrine under that name is in Washington, DC), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (born in New York City, and later lived in Maryland), St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (arrived in New York City from Italy, and buried in New York), St. John Neumann (arrived and ordained in NYC, worked in Maryland, then Bishop of Philadelphia) and St. Katharine Drexel (born in Philadelphia, and buried in a suburb of Philly, Bensalem).
    At our TLM, there was no mention of 9/11 at the Mass or in the priest’s sermon. Kind of odd, but I remembered the victims at the Commemoration of the Dead and before going to Communion.

  8. irishgirl says:

    Tim Ferguson-you’re right about the Mass texts for the King or Emperor.
    There’s one in my St. Andrew’s Daily Missal.
    I’ve also seen a prayer for the Queen, which is said after Mass in England.

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