I would honestly much rather prefer that our inaugural school newsletter not fall on this particular date. I shall try my best to communicate how exciting it is to be back in school in the midst of this solemn occasion.
We are very grateful to announce that the newly assigned pastor of St. Patrick's parish in Newport - Fr. Michael Sartaroi - will be serving the students and staff in a school chaplaincy position for the duration of the school year, a first ever role here at MRA. This entails celebrating Mass twice a month on campus, in addition to a chaplaincy visit that will include monthly confession for the students, classroom visits, as well as a rotation of holy hours for grouped grade levels in St. Joseph's Oratory.
This is in part a response to the recently released data that only one out of every three Catholics believe in the sacramental reality of the Eucharist: that it is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Our school's mission was the focus of an article in a national publication when the report was first released by the Pew. I do not think we can deny either the providential work of God, who clearly opened the heart of Fr. Michael to provide a pastoral need to our school while providing the resources to make it happen through the generosity of a committed benefactor.
Each year when we gather to pray on September 11th, we hear again the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; the very words he prayed during his visit to Ground Zero in 2008. I would propose this prayer as reflective of our most fitting response and disposition towards this moment in our nation's history:
O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions, who gather today at… the scene of incredible violence and pain. We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here-- the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.
Most Sincerely in Christ,