Friday, April 24, 2009

At Ground Zero

A crowd of hundreds in tow, the archbishop of New York made his first pilgrimage (video) to the city's most evocative landmark earlier this morning:
Archbishop Timothy Dolan paid his first visit to the World Trade Center site and celebrated Mass at a church that once served as a staging area for emergency responders after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

He spent about 15 minutes at a street-level platform overlooking the Sept. 11 memorial under construction, talking briefly with chairman Anthony Coscia and executive director Chris Ward of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Dolan then knelt and said a prayer, the same one that Pope Benedict XVI gave at a visit to the World Trade Center site more than a year ago, officials said.

The newly installed leader of the Archdiocese of New York told reporters as he walked out that he felt an "overwhelming sadness at the horror, suffering and pain that the site still carries."
More from the hometown News:
"We will never stop crying," Dolan said.

"But it's also about September 12 and all the renewal, the rebuilding, hope, solidarity and compassion that symbolized this great community and still does.

"I find myself very overwhelmed."...

He described the site as sacred ground and likened the area to other places of pilgrimage around the world, such as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and Lourdes in France.

"People still come here, just as faithful people still go to the Wailing Wall, with memories and sadness and sorrow and suffering and yet trust in the Lord of hope," he said.

"Personally I find it very moving for me, for my own spiritual life, to be here in the season of Easter, in the days after Passover and in the season of spring."

Earlier in the morning, Dolan celebrated Mass with hundreds of worshippers at St. Peter's Church on Barclay St.

"I think of the devastated people who came here for solace and hope on 9/11," he said.

"Don't tell the people at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but this is a lot more historic," he joked.

The oldest church in New York, St Peter's traces its roots to 1785. Fifteen years later, the church provided the venue as American's first native-born saint completed her journey to Catholicism.

Getty Images(1); AP(2)