John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: December 2006
John Wayne's Holster
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Saint of 9/11 - Fr. Mychal Judge

I recently watched a documentary on Fr. Mychal Judge, O.F.M (Franciscan). As many of us will recall, Fr. Judge was the chaplain of the NYC Fire Department. Fr. Judge was killed by falling debris on 9/11 while administering Last Rights to a fallen fireman at “Ground Zero”.

The documentary is entitled Saint of 9/11 - The True Story of Father Mychal Judge. The documentary essentially cover Mychal Judges whole life, but its main focus is the battle between his calling as a priest and the hidden darkness residing deep within his spirit – and most importantly, how he overcame that dark side to become a true messenger of Christ.

Fr. Judge was a untiring herald of the neglected and forgotten. He donated a large part, if not all, of his income to the poor. Every year he would take money from his own pocket and purchase coats for the homeless people he encountered during his ministry. In contrast (and opposition) to the conservative core of the Church, Fr. Judge was a champion of those shunned by the Church, such as gay Catholics. In the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis, most people, including doctors, nurses and clergymen shunned infected people. Fr. Judge did not. He comforted them, embraced them, and brought God into their lives before they died.

What makes his story all the more fascinating is the human element that underlies it. Like all of us, Fr. Judge had his share of demons that were wrestling for control of his soul. Throughout his life, he struggled with his sexuality and alcoholism. But he did not let it interfere with his mission. Fr. Judge was sober for the last 23 years of his life, and he was celibate.

The sexuality issue was the one thing in the documentary I found unsettling. It seemed that the producers had an agenda in promoting Fr. Judges sexuality, as they spent way too much time reminding us of it. The fact is that Fr. Judge was celibate!

Fr. Judge rose above his demons and touched peoples lives in the way that Jesus did in the New Testament. Surely those who knew him must of seen God's face through his works.