Pope Francis’s busy day in New York continued with a visit to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in lower Manhattan. Upon his arrival, he prayed at one of the memorial’s two reflecting pools and met with the families of first responders who died in the attacks, then took part in a multi-faith prayer service. “You can feel the pain here,” he said in Spanish during the service. “It is palpable.”
Some of the politicians in attendance:
Pope Francis, blessing Sandra Lee:
Michael Bloomberg, Pope Francis, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan look at a broken piece of steel from the World Trade Center:
Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove and Imam Khalid Latif offered reflections at the beginning of the service inside the museum before Pope Francis offered a prayer, which began:
O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and religious traditions, who gather today on this hallowed ground, the scene of unspeakable 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 firefighters, 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.
After meditations on peace by the assembled religious leaders and a prayer for those who died in the attacks, Francis spoke: “I met some of the families of the fallen first responders,” he said. “Meeting them made me see once again how acts of destruction are never impersonal, abstract or merely material. They always have a face, a concrete story, names.”
“This place of death became a place of life too,” said Francis, “a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.”