Monday, February 18, 2013

A Mistake

Have you ever made a mistake that you didn't even realize you made and that turned out to be something great?

This past Christmas season I was checking out some books and my son's wish list on Amazon.  Somehow, while I was in the wish list section, I added two books to my wish list that I didn't even know I had.  My son took the opportunity to arrange for me to receive these books on my Kindle and I'm so glad he did.

This week I started reading the first, The Book of Mychal by Michael Daly.  It's the story of Father Mychal Judge, the FDNY Chaplain, who died when the World Trade Center was attacked and fell.  This book follows Father Judge's life from childhood to the end.  I'm about 2/3's of the way through.

I have spent most of yesterday and today reading.  I usually can't sit still more than an hour when reading, but today I did.  I even ignored an NCIS marathon with Mark Harmon and David McCallum, this book is so good.

Father Judge spent his days saying Mass, ministering to AIDS patients, counseling those struggling with addiction.  No matter the time of day, he would answer a page to console firemen and families when one had been injured or killed in a fire.  He would visit the hospital, counsel and console the family until the fireman either recovered or died.  He would then say the funeral Mass if the deceased was Catholic, or just offer whatever support he could.

There were days when he would return to his home at 2 or 3 in the morning, check messages, pray and go to sleep only to get up in time to say Mass at 7:30 AM.  And, he was not a young man.  I wish I had his energy.

As a New Yorker, there are stories that I remember - the crash of TWA Flight 800, the deaths of three fireman that resulted in the city's providing special protective gear for the department.

Unfortunately, I know how this story ends - the horrific attack on my city on September 11, 2001.  All through the book, Mr. Daly mentions firemen who were friends of Father Judge who also died on that day.

He also mentions some of the good stories of NY - Stephen McDonald who was shot by a young boy.  Mr. McDonald had been married a short time and his wife was pregnant with their child when he was shot, that's not the good story.  Mr. McDonald is now in a wheelchair and breaths with the help of a portable respirator, but  Mr. McDonald forgave the shooter.

I could say more about this book,  but I want to get back to reading.  I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading about real people, people who make a difference, people who care.


Anonymous said...

I have failed to check in here.
Have you heard that Pres is naming Jane Fonda as one of the Women of the Century?

BetteJo said...

I remember that even amongst all different directions the news media was going in the days after September 11th, I remember them reporting the Father's body being removed from the collapsed tower. It seemed to symbolize the great evil that had occurred when such a good man was the first official victim. Sounds like a story worth reading.