WASHINGTON — On the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. bishops have released their special Patriot Day Mass intercessions to pray for victims of terrorism, for military service members and for an “end to all hatred.”
“For all victims of violence and terrorism around the world, and for their families, that they may find comfort and peace, we pray to the Lord,” reads a new prayer on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Another prayer asks that the Church “may continue to provide care and healing for all, especially those affected by the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.”
A third prays that national leaders “may work together to address the problems that provide fertile ground for the growth of terrorism,” while another prays for both an end to hatred and for “the ability to forgive.”
The new prayers come 12 years after al Qaeda terrorists attacked the U.S., hijacking passenger airplanes and flying them into each of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane went down in a Pennsylvania field after passengers attempted to regain control. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks.
Several Catholic bishops commemorated the Sept. 11 anniversary with thoughts and prayers on social media.
Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tenn., used Twitter to highlight the 9/11 anniversary as a time to remember the families harmed by the attacks and to pray for “those in the military and in harm’s way.”
In Alaska, Bishop Edward Burns of Juneau cited Blessed John Paul II’s words: “Evil, terror, suffering and death will not have the last word.”
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh, N.C., said on Twitter that the anniversary is a time when “we firmly renew our prayers for God's protection and peace throughout our world.”
“Let us spend a few moments in prayer for those who died and those whose lives have been affected by the events on 9/11 12 years ago,” added Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas. He invited Catholics to join in the prayer Pope Benedict XVI offered at the site of the World Trade Center during his 2008 visit to New York City.
“Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain,” the prayer said, asking for God’s guidance and consolation.
U.S. President Barack Obama marked the event with a Sept. 11 address at a memorial observance at the Pentagon.
He remembered those who had died and cited Psalm 71’s words that God will “revive me” and “comfort me again.”
“Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away,” President Obama said. “Together we pause, and we pray, and we give humble thanks — as families and as a nation — for the strength and the grace that, from the depths of our despair, has brought us up again, has revived us again, has given us strength to keep on.”
The U.S. bishops’ conference pointed Catholics to a special resource section on its website that includes reflections and remembrances from those impacted by the terrorist attacks, as well as clergy who ministered to victims and their families.
Also on the website is the bishops’ 2011 statement marking the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
“We reverently recall those who were most directly affected by this tragedy — those who died, were injured or lost loved ones,” said the head of the bishops’ conference, then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, in the statement.
“In a special way, we recall the selfless first responders — firefighters, police, chaplains, emergency workers and other brave persons — who risked, and many times lost, their lives in their courageous efforts to save others,” he reflected.
“In remembering the fateful events of Sept. 11, 2001, may we resolve to put aside our differences and join together in the task of renewing our nation and world.”