2002-09-15 One year ago prayers were being offered in the parish for all the dead and missing in the attack on our nation
September 15, 2002
One year ago prayers were being offered in the parish for all the dead and missing in the attack on our nation. Following the example of Christians from the first days of the Church’s life after Pentecost, we also collected money to help. In just one special collection on September 16, in addition to regular offerings, our people gathered $9,085.61 for emergency relief as the first of many contributions. It showed what our parish can do when challenged in spiritual combat, for no Christian can deny that we were confronting the mysteries of good and evil in vivid ways during those hours and days.
The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has received so far $25.4 million for special projects connected with the tragedy of September 11. Like the Catholic school system, the archdiocesan charities are run with the greatest efficiency; administrative costs are a fraction of other charitable organizations. Sixty-eight percent of all contributions have already been spent to assist over 3,100 families and 9,000 individuals. I remember one fraudulent character coming to the rectory in an emergency services personnel uniform asking for help; quick work on the part of Chancery staff proved him to be an imposter. He may be in jail now; if not, he could make a good living as an actor. Such wretched characters were rare, and those entrusted with charitable gifts have been very careful in their stewardship. To date, $9.6 million have been given in financial assistance, $5.7 million have gone into a scholarship fund, and $1.3 million have been spent to coordinate services. After $700,000 spent on administration, $8.1 million remain to meet ongoing needs for the next three years.
Immediate needs included help with basic living expenses for those who lost jobs, and funeral expenses for 157 families. Most important are the thousands of children who lost a parent. Sufficient funds have been received to guarantee scholarships in our Catholic schools for any such child in legitimate need. This may prove to be the most important long-term benefaction for our city, along with counseling and employment assistance for many of the estimated 75,000 workers who lost their jobs. The Archdiocese is opening a special center in the Bronx to provide training for more than 1,000 displaced workers.
While the Church has been of incalculable help to the needy in our city’s history, much of our attention has rightly been focused on development abroad in mission lands. This past year has been a time to help locally in an unprecedented way, in the world’s greatest city, which never expected to be in such need. No monetary value can be placed on the spiritual help the Church continues to give to all who were affected by last year’s horror.
Fr. George W. Rutler