Of Many Things

We want to thank all our readers and friends who expressed their sympathy and concern in numerous letters and e-mails. In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, it was good to know that we had friends praying for us all over the world.

Our residence-office building is about four miles from the World Trade Center, so we were never in danger, although this past week we could still smell the smoke. Shortly after the attack, all subways, tunnels and bridges were shut down stranding our staff in Manhattan. Our phone and Internet service went out.

Advertisement

We almost didn’t get the magazine published that week. With our D.S.L. line down, we could not send copy to our printer in St. Cloud, Minn., on Wednesday and Thursday. And our normal backup, FedEx, could not fly. Ingenuity and hard work by our production team—Robert Collins, S.J., and Tatyana Borodina—enabled us not only to get the magazine out but also to include the latest news in the Signs of the Times and a timely editorial. Everyone pitched in and performed marvelously under difficult circumstances.

All of this seemed a minor inconvenience compared with the suffering and loss of so many thousands. David Toolan, S.J., our associate editor who recently underwent surgery for a brain tumor, put it well: “On Monday [Sept. 10] I was feeling sorry for myself. On Tuesday, I got over it.”

Associate editor James Martin, S.J., was in lower Manhattan at ground zero ministering to the police, firefighters and rescue workers in the days following the attack. His report in this issue and last week’s recounts the courageous and dedicated work of these men and women. On the first Sunday after the attack, he celebrated the Eucharist amid the rubble for the rescue workers. Father James Stehr, our 74-year-old house manager, also went to one of the local armories to help counsel people trying to locate missing family members and friends.

New Yorkers are a tough crowd, but their tears and compassion were evident after the attack. Normally ready to boo anyone on the slightest provocation, they were cheering Con Ed workers and dump trucks making their way to and from the disaster zone. They were especially grateful to the out-of-town police and firefighters who came to their rescue from Chicago and Florida, to say nothing of the nearby states. Things are beginning to get back to normal in our neighborhood, but there is still a feeling of mourning in the air.

It is going to take a long time to get over the shock of what happened. Tatyana, who survived the disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine, never thought she would experience anything like that again, especially in the United States. None of us did. I think that I am still in denial, but then one story or picture will tear at the heart and make it real.

No one on the staff lost relatives in the attack, but we all have friends or friends of friends who were directly affected. The closest calls were for the daughter of Judith Urena, our bookkeeper, and for the husband of Julia Sosa, our advertising manager. William, formerly of America’s development office, had until recently been working regularly at the World Trade Center for U.P.S. Judith’s daughter had offices in the World Trade Center and in Philadelphia.That day she was in Philadelphia.

On Friday, Sept. 14, we held a memorial service in our chapel for the victims of the attack. We continue to remember them in our prayers and Masses. If there is anyone you would like us to remember, please write or e-mail us their name.

We have also been hard at work soliciting articles from experts on the ethics of dealing with terrorism, as you can see in this issue. We hope that they will raise the level of debate on how the United States should respond to this crisis.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. And continue to pray for our nation as we try to cope with this disaster and its aftermath.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pro-life advocates participate in the annual March for Life in Washington January 2017. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Describing abortion as a “key social evil” in the United States, the Jesuits say: “The most fundamental building block of a just social order is respect for human life.”
America StaffJanuary 19, 2018
Men carry a replica of Peru's most revered religious icon, the "Lord of Miracles," during an Oct. 18, 2017 procession in Lima. Each year thousands of Catholics gather to commemorate the image's survival in a 17th-century earthquake that destroyed Lima. (CNS photo/Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
Father Ernesto Cavassa was provincial of the Jesuits in Peru from 1998 to 2004, and president of the Conference of Latin American Jesuit Provincials from 2005 to 2012.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
For over 45 years, Feminists for Life has been committed to ending the practice and legality of abortion and promoting the feminism of Susan B. Anthony.
Serrin M. FosterJanuary 18, 2018
A President Donald Trump supporter is see seen at the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
During their tenure in office, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush all addressed the march via telephone or a radio hookup from the Oval Office.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 18, 2018