herald

Thursday 17 January 2019

Image of 9/11 that means most to me

THE most powerful image from 9/11 for me remains the photograph of fire department chaplin Fr Mychal Judge being carried out dead from the North Tower.

He was World Trade Centre designated victim 0001.

One of those carrying Fr Judge was Irish-American police officer Lt William Cosgrove, who was at the 9/11 tribute in the RDS yesterday.

I went to live in New York in the years after 9/11 and I frequently met people who had known the extraordinary Fr Judge, a Franciscan whose parents had emigrated from Co Leitrim. He was gay, though celibate, and was loved by the macho firefighters he worked with.

He struggled with a drink problem and would attend AA groups across Manhattan, where he was known for arriving at meetings in just a sweater having given away his coat on the way to a homeless person.



defiance

In the 1980s during the Aids panic he welcomed the gay Catholic group to meet at his church in defiance of a Vatican ban. His response to church leaders was succinct: "Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love?"

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