Totowa, NJ- Just miles from where Paterson remembered one of its own sons lost in the terrorist attacks of 9-11, dozens of city firefighters and police officers joined together to honor the memory of the first of what would ultimately be nearly 3,000 recorded deaths in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Father Mychal Judge, who at the time of his death served as the chaplain of the FDNY, was widely reported to have provided prayers and counsel to several victims in the moments following the attack, ultimately entering the North Tower where he was killed when the South Tower collapsed scattering debris which led to him sustaining fatal injuries. The Catholic priest was laid to rest alongside several other members of his Franciscan Order in Totowa’s Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

According to retired firefighter Joe Parkin, the connection between Judge and the Paterson Fire Department runs deep as it was their honor guard and burial unit that presided over the fallen spiritual leader’s funeral. “It was only fitting that we did it,” Parkin said adding that Judge was a mentor to Father John Piccione who served as a chaplain to local firefighters prior to his own passing in 2009.

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“We do this to show that neither Father Judge nor Father Piccione will ever be forgotten.”

During the brief ceremony given by St. Bonaventure’s Father Dan Grigassy, those gathered stood at attention while the Honor Guard presented the colors and Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott blared out both the Marines Hymn and Amazing Grace, and joined together in the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer.

Marlene O’Connell sang the National Anthem and Fr. Dan repeated Judge’s prayer, which he said he had delivered countless times in efforts to “insert himself into dilemma so good could flow,” something, he said, the first responders that Judge looked out for do every regularly.  

Father Mychal's Prayer

Lord

Take me where

you want me

to go

Let me meet who

you want me 

to meet

Tell me what

you want me 

to say and 

Keep me out 

of your way