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John Wayne's Holster: The Saint of 9/11 - Fr. Mychal Judge
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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.


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Roy said...

I have heard of this documentary but I haven't actually seen it. Did you rent it or was it on HBO?

I was definitely aware that Judge was gay and I am not surprised that the doc would have an agenda to push.

From all I've read about, most of it on Andrew Sullivans site, he seems to be a remarkable guy. And yes his actions were very Christian.

Do you think that the church should welcome gays into the congregation even if they are not celibate? Not talking about priesthood just into the congregation.

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The film is now available on DVD through its producers:
and through other sellers, like Amazon.

I've also seen the film and share most of your conclusions.  An inspired work about an inspiring man.  Someone has said, "Mychal Judge is proof of the existence of God."

However, I disagree that there was any gay "agenda".  No more than 10 or 12 minutes (out of the film's 80 minutes) focused on the fact that Mychal Judge considered himself gay and supported gay causes. Celibate, yes, but in disagreement with Rome on these issues.

Where this was a significant part of his life and ministry, it's appropriate that it was covered--even if it does make some folks squirm.

Finally, you linked to Dennis Lynch's 2002 article which totally denied that Fr. Mike was gay.  Lynch's claim was long ago disproven by the facts.  See:

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Joe Verica said...

Hey Roy

Thanks for the comments.

As for gays in the Church, I think they should be allowed into the congregation, so long as they are trying to live good, upstanding lives. I don't see the point in turning them away. After all, how many "upstanding" members of the Church are running around on their husbands or wives? I don't see the Church making any effort eliminate them from the congregation.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

I'm a stained glass artist in Michigan. Our studio was doing a stained glass window for Sacred Heart of the Hills in Auburn Hills after 9/11 and included Father Judge's portrait into the design. The composition was done by my grandfather who had died earlier that year. After 9/11 we discovered that one of the panels in the design had an eerie combination of faces in it. It was very 9/11. Fire fighters, nurses, business men, middle eastern man, scientist, flight attendant were all pictured in the design. We made the decision to add the two towers in the background and make all the faces into portraits of victims of 9/11.
With your interest in Fr. Judge I felt i should comment. I'd be happy to send pics if you are interested.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Mychals Prayer said...

The old website suddenly went commercial and no longer has anything to do with Fr. Mychal Judge.

The following website is now the only one devoted exclusively to Fr.Mychal:


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