Mychal Judge was designated as “Victim 0001,” recognized as the first official victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Other victims perished before him including air crew, passengers, and occupants of the towers, but Judge was the first certified fatality because his was the first body to be recovered and brought to the coroner.
Below is his last sermon given September 10, 2001.
“Good morning, everyone. May the grace of God the Father, peace of God the Son, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
We come to this house this morning to celebrate renewal, rejuvination, new life. We come to thank God for the blessings over all the years – the good work that’s been done here and especially the last few days. We can never thank God enough for the reality of the lives we have. So, standing in His presence this morning, and truly this is a chapel, let us pause for a moment, perhaps close our eyes, and thank God for some special blessings in our individual lives.
Let us pray. Thank you Lord for life. Thank you for love. Thank you for goodness. Thank you for work. Thank you for family. Thank you for friends. Thank you for every gift because we know that every gift comes from you, and without you, we have and are nothing. So, as we celebrate this day in thanksgiving to you, keep our hearts and minds open. Let us enjoy each other’s company, and most of all, let us be conscious of Your presence in our lives and in a special way in the lives of all those who have gone before us. And Father we make our prayer, as always, in Jesus’ name who lives with You forever and ever.
That’s the way it is. Good days. And bad days. Up days. Down days. Sad days. Happy days. But never a boring day on this job. You do what God has called you to do. You show up. You put one foot in front of another. You get on the rig and you go out and you do the job – which is a mystery. And a surprise. You have no idea when you get on that rig. No matter how big the call. No matter how small. You have no idea what God is calling you to. But he needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us.
The retirees – He needs your prayers. He needs your stopping by occasionally to give strength and support and to tell the stories of the old days. We need the house and to those of you that are working now, keep going. Keep supporting each other. Be kind to each other. Love each other. Work together and do what you did the other night and the weeks and the months and the years before and from this house, God’s blessings go forth in this community. It’s fantastic!
What great people. We love the job. We all do. What a blessing that is. A difficult, difficult job and God calls you to it. And then He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done. Isn’t He a wonderful God? Isn’t He good to you? To each one of you? And to me! Turn to Him each day. Put your faith and your trust and your hope and your life in His hands, and He’ll take care of you and you’ll have a good life.
And this house will be a great, great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city. Amen.”
Father Mychal’s Prayer:
Lord, take me where You want me to go, let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say, and keep me out of Your way. Amen
He lived this prayer to the last moment. Upon hearing the news that the World Trade Center had been hit, Father Judge rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower, where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured and dead. When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 AM, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge. At the moment he was struck in the head and killed, Judge was repeatedly praying aloud, “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”, according to Judge’s biographer and New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly. Shortly after his death, a NYPD lieutenant, who had also been buried in the collapse, found Judge’s body and assisted by two firemen and two civilian bystanders carried it out of the North Tower lobby to nearby St Peter’s Church. Shannon Stapleton, photographer from Reuters, photographed Judge’s body being carried out of the rubble by five men. It became one of the most famous images related to 9/11.
Below is footage from the film which includes actual footage of Fr.Judge: