Cardinal dedicates memorial at Ground Zero

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York dedicated a Catholic memorial at Ground Zero on Sunday to serve as a complement to the national memorial planned for the site of the World Trade Centre that was destroyed in the 11 September 2001 terrorist action.

Catholic News Service reports that St Joseph's Chapel, located near Ground Zero on the ground floor of a seven-story apartment building in lower Manhattan's Battery Park City, has been renovated and designated as the Catholic memorial.

Visitors to Ground Zero will be able to walk a few steps toward the Hudson River and enter an environment keyed to the same theme but designed to encourage prayer and meditation.

In the homily at the dedication Mass, Cardinal Egan said the grace of God had "its own way of taking over," and could have an impact even on casual visitors to the renovated chapel.

"My dream is that many will come and look around, and hear that 'God so loved the world he gave his only Son,'" he said in an allusion to the Gospel reading of the Mass from the third chapter of John.

Previously on the site cleared for the World Trade Centre in lower Manhattan, the chapel again found its life disrupted in its new location by the terrorist attack.

All the residents of the area had to leave for a time, and the chapel was used first by government relief agencies as their command station and later by construction workers, police and others as a place for rest and counseling.

Cardinal Egan noted that although "everything was ruined" in the chapel it was back in operation a year later.

Since then, the congregation that gathers there has been developing the chapel as the Catholic memorial to 9/11. The cardinal described it as "a gift to New York and a gift to the nation."

Cardinal dedicates Catholic memorial to promote prayer at Ground Zero (Catholic News Service 23/5/05)

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25 May 2005