I was in New York in recent weeks and had a good time there, thanks be to God and to those I met! Went to visit my aunt in Richmond and had a lovely time with her. Her cousin Pat, his wife Irene called around as did Jeanie and Corky Korves. I returned with them to Annendale, Virginia. It was good to see Mary Margaret. She modelled a dress given to her by some friends in Kuwait.
I travelled to Virginia with Jeanie and Corky and the next day we went into Washington DC. We visited the “NEWSEUM” there and it was a very enjoyable visit. It’s a media museum that features a huge variety of archived media materials. This year there is a special feature marking the 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Later that evening, Corky’s son, duaghter-in-law and granddaughter (who I baptized a few years ago) called around for dinner. Again, good to see them all.
In New York, I decided to pay a visit to “Ground Zero”. I had gone there before but it’s been a while. I thought I might take a tour this time and am glad I did. It was a walking tour that lasted over two hours and certainly was helpful. We started in St Paul’s Church, directly opposite Ground Zero – a lovely Anglican Church that was unscathed in the attack, despite its proximity. It became a base for much of the rescue work and is filled with memories from those days. From there we went around the corner to St Peter’s Catholic Church, which is listed as the oldest Catholic Church in New York. Here, they took the remains of Fr Mychal Judge, the Fire Department Chaplain who is listed as “Victim 0001”. We spent a bit of time in this church and I’d hope to go back someday.
Just came across this prayer that Fr Mychal Judge liked to use.
We walked much of the streets around Ground Zero and were reminded that seven buildings were destroyed that day. We talk of the “Twin Towers” and, in so doing, forget that there were five other tower blocks destroyed that day. They have rebuilt two of them now, the site of the Towers is now a Memorial and there are another three towers to be built. It is quite an operation and the work is well advanced.
Part of the tour took us through the American Express building and, in particular, to a memorial there that recalls the lives and deaths of thirteen of its employees who lost their lives on September 11th. It’s a lovely tribute to their memory and consists of a thirteen sided pool, each side bearing the name of one who died. The names and the corners come together as a diamond that overhangs the pool and thirteen thin rods extend to the heavens. From these drip tears into the pool, their rippling effect intermingle with one another’s tears and show the collectedness of their lives.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit Ground Zero was to remember Kieran Gorman and say a prayer for him and his family. I was happy to be able to do that. Sad too, of course, that he like so many others lost his life that day and left a void behind that will never be filled.
I also visited the nearby “Irish Famine Memorial” which is a house from Attymass, Co. Mayo that was taken down and rebuilt in New York as a reminder of the devastation caused through famine and emigration. It is incredible to walk down a street, surrounded by skyscrapers and to see a house like this, built on a hill that could be found in any part of Ireland. There was quite a number of people there too. I was glad to see it again.
Some of the images above and a few I took with another camera are included in this YouTube video …
I went to Boston for two days, spending a very enjoyable evening with my cousin Frances, her husband and family. Didn’t take any photos there as we watched and old “Pink Panther” movie and that was enough camera work for one evening! Next day I went with Fran to her store in Canton “Fiddleheads” and waited there to be collected by Olivia and her family from Collooney. We went to her sister – Edel’s home and spent a very enjoyable day there, finishing with a card game – I lost all I had but, in fairness, what I had was given to me by Dan!! So, all in all, I did okay!! Also met another Collooney friend, Joanne O’Connell and her boyfriend.
On Sunday last I met some cousins, Jean Sincerbox (formerly McDonnell) and her daughter Katherine (whom I’d met in Galway earlier this year) – who travelled from Up-State New York to attend Mass at 11am and meet me afterwards. I was glad to see them. After Mass we went to Oceanside to the home of Jean’s sister, Terry and her daughter Jennifer. We had a lovely lunch, a good chat about Monasteraden and people we both knew.
On Sunday evening I met John and Diane Gaffeney for dinner. Their daughters, Sarah and Lauren were there with their husbands. I married both of them in recent years. Also there was Sarah and Ben’s daughter, Courtney and it was a pleasant evening. Always good to catch up with people.
I spent most of the time at St Agnes Cathedral where I met again many old friends. It really is a sort of “home away from home” at this stage and I always enjoy being there. It was good to spend a bit of time in another parish, another setting, to see how things are done – possibly to learn a little along the way – and, in particular, to be renewed in the gratitude I feel for all that I have here at home.
I didn’t watch a lot of TV but did tune into a concert one night. It was very good. The concert was a call for peace and healing for the families of the children and teachers who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings. It was a powerful concert with very moving and inspirational song choices. Also, a call for awareness of the pain caused by such atrocities. Numbered among the singers, a lady called Francine, whose son was among those killed on that day. If you’ve a bit of time on hand, you could do worse than watch this concert and listen to some of the interviews that took place between songs … There’s a website with more information ….
or on YouTube