Saturday, September 11, 2010

'We're Not On Duty Here For That"

Fresh Kills Landfill
Mount Manresa Retreat House on Staten Island recently dedicated this cross made from World Trade Center steel to memorialize the efforts of its staff and volunteers in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The retreat house became a temporary home for many rescue workers as they labored at the nearby Fresh Kills landfill, where debris from the World Trade Center was sent. The retreat house was also a center to help families of the victims, and the Red Cross set up headquarters there for six months after the attack. A memorial collage of photos of Ground Zero, Fresh Kills landfill, and rescue workers at Mt. Manresa was mounted opposite the cross. Manresa retreat directors Fr. John King, SJ, and Fr. Tom Quinn, SJ, spent some time at the landfill for four months, talking and listening to the detectives who were raking the debris. "Our role was not that of counselor or spiritual director," says King. "We were there just to listen to them and chat with them along the lines of their interests. "Once in a while, one of the men would point to another and say: 'Father, he needs a conversion.' We'd smile and reply 'We're not on duty here for that. We just want to sit around and chat with you.' They'd all nod their heads in agreement," remembers King. 
Link (here) to Minims and Maxims

1 comment:

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

I'd have to say Father King and Father Quinn wasted great teaching moments. By virtue of their being priests, they are always "on duty" to save souls primarily. Those fellows who were pointing to those who "needed conversion" may have been snide - or they may have sensed something truly amiss spiritiully with their friends. And the priests brushed them off?? Shame on them. We'll all die one day, and our ultimate destiny is either heaven or hell. Why was that not the primary concern of those priests?