By Monsignor Kevin Sullivan
This past weekend we remembered. We experienced sadness, loss, tragedy and heroism. The memory of loss and tragedy centered on the lives lost in a moment at the World Trade Center itself, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania – and their loved ones. The memories of heroism focused on those who responded immediately to try to rescue those in the World Trade Center buildings. It was good to do so. It was good to remember that in the midst of tragedy and loss, there was greatness and heroism.
As the weekend passes and we move forward let us remember those who responded for years – and continue to respond to the tragedy of 9/11 – human service and healthcare workers. Hundreds of thousands were impacted, not for a day or months, but for years, and some of this impact continues to this day. Jobs were lost. Lives were torn apart and traumatized. Health was compromised.
Away from Ground Zero, in the neighborhoods of New York City and the towns and counties of the New York metropolitan area, thousands worked to make sure that basic needs were met and that the healing of body, emotions and spirit began and steadily took place. There were many generous volunteers who gave their time and talent. There were many generous donors who gave their treasure so that resources were available to help our neighbors in need. And at the heart of this long-term response to the human and healthcare needs of those impacted by 9/11, were the dedicated human service and healthcare workers who, day in and day out, were present to hurting individuals and families. Let us remember them with gratitude and whisper a prayer that they may persevere each day for those whose tragedies are as real but not as noted.
I know well the workers of Catholic Charities and the other human service networks of the greater New York metropolitan area. Thank you for what you did. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for what you will do, with compassion and professionalism, to enable those in need to live in dignity.