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Rev. James Martin, S.J. Headshot

A Spiritual Pilgrimage To Ground Zero

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On Sept. 11, 2001, I was working at my desk at America, a Catholic magazine in New York City. That morning my mother called from Philadelphia to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. She was worried about me. That was odd, I thought: She knew I worked uptown, not downtown. But turning on the TV confirmed the horror of what she was reporting.

That night, I put on my clerical collar and walked through the empty streets to a nearby hospital to help with victims who never came. The next day, I spent several hours in a counseling center helping bereaved families examine hospital records for their loved ones. Finally, on Sept. 13, with the city still in chaos, a police officer offered me a ride to ground zero, where I would spend the next few days and weeks, along with my brother Jesuits, ministering to the firefighters and rescue workers. There, at this most terrible place, I encountered grace as powerfully as I ever have -- in the outpouring of compassion and charity among the rescue workers. This video is a spiritual pilgrimage back to ground zero, 10 years later.


This post is part of a collection of 9/11 reflections from chaplains who were there.

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