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Americans turning to church and prayer

Since the horrific terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, "we have noted that many more people are coming to churches," said Fr Carlos Mullins of St Philip Neri Parish in the Bronx.

Fr Mullins told Zenit: All are taking recourse to prayer as the ultimate thing that remains: to pray for those who died and for their relatives."

He said that some priests are working directly at the site of the tragedy, giving spiritual and material aid wherever possible.

"We have also helped many people of our community who were close to the Twin Towers and saw people throwing themselves out of the windows, seized by despair," the priest said. "They remained extremely affected, and the best thing we can do is to alleviate their spirits and encourage them to pray for the souls of those innocent victims and the repentance of their executioners."

Fr Mullins said that Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, visited St. Vincent's Hospital, where 300 wounded were being treated. On Sunday the cardinal will celebrate two Masses in St. Patrick's Cathedral to pray for peace.

He played down Americans' reported longing for retribution: "There is no talk of vengeance; the tendency is to wait for the authorities to investigate those who are really responsible."

"The American people are demonstrating great solidarity; they remain calm and do not harbor feelings of vengeance against anyone," he added. "A spirit of sorrow and sadness prevails. There is no desire to do anything. Only the effort to help wherever possible."