On this Patriot Day, as we remember those who were injured or died during the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, it is difficult to imagine the pain of those who lost loved ones. Only through the eyes of faith can we even begin to make sense of things. Only faith will help us to understand St. Paul’s words, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8).
Father Joseph Bayne, chief chaplain of the Erie County Emergency Services, and chaplain of the Buffalo Fire Department in Buffalo, New York responded to the call for help at ground zero. Fr. Bayne explains,
“I roamed around Ground Zero in my turnout gear, speaking to the rescue personnel as they came off the smoking burning pile that was holy ground. I shook hands, hugged, gave bottles of water and often prayed quietly with them. I even mustered some smiles and laughter. I met the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, the man who lost over 700 of his staff. I spoke with cops and fire fighters. In true St. Francis of Assisi style, I patted and blessed the rescue dogs as they came off the pile after their shift.”
“In the days following the tragedy, some said they saw the face of the devil in the smoke at Ground Zero. Many asked me about the same, and my answer hasn’t changed in 10 years. No, I did not see the devil’s face at Ground Zero. I saw the face of God in the people working, caring, sweating, crying, rescuing, recovering and being very spiritual in their very humanness. I was moved and changed and felt God’s hand in the goodness that followed such tragedy. My ministry embodied the prayer of Saint Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”
To read Chaplain Bayne’s reflection in its entirety, please see: An Instrument of Peace at Ground Zero.
Submitted by: A. Schwelm, Assistant Library Director