Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fr. Raymond Nobiletti, M.M.: Maryknoll Priest, 9/11 First Responder and Survivor

"...the phone rang and a neighboring parish priest asked if I could go immediately to the World Trade Center. Priests were needed to minister to the wounded. The office TV then revealed that this was no small plane crash."

"Stunned by the image of the towering inferno, I was in a daze while collecting the Holy Oils, stole, and prayer book needed to administer the Sacraments. This would not be the first time in 30 years of priesthood that I would walk into a disaster such as this. In 1972 in Hong Kong, I was waist deep in the mud of a landslide that took the lives of 72 people. I learned how important it was to be an instrument of God’s presence and am still humbled by that privilege. I knew that the presence of a priest would be important to both survivors and responders that morning at the World Trade Center."

"God’s presence was made visible in the Sacraments of the Church, the ministry of the priesthood, and the compassion shown toward the victims by the first responders. It was spontaneous and unexpected as are so many important and meaningful occasions of God’s presence in the face of evil. God’s grace led me down to the World Trade Center that day. The needs of the people and victims were more important than the risk of being there. I did think that I would see God face-to-face that morning."

"The recognizable presence of a priest who represents the compassion and forgiveness of God should never be underestimated, especially in the midst of sudden crisis or in the face of such evil. The presence of God and the grace of God was and still is tangible at Ground Zero.
What a gift and privilege it was to be an instrument of God’s grace and part of the team of people from all walks of life who made God so present to all on that day. In our own life journey everyday, we continue to experience God’s presence in these people and this place.
Father Raymond Nobiletti, M.M., excerpts from his remembrance of 9/11
Chinatown, New York City,
September 2011

Lord, give me comfort, give me strength, give me hope in the face of sorrow. Give me the knowledge that you are beside me today and every tomorrow. Let me be there for others who reach out to me in their time of need. Let me follow the path you set for me, no matter where it may lead.

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests.  Amen.

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