Standing with our country on Sept. 11

By Bishop Robert J. Baker

On Sept. 11, we will celebrate the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

We join in prayer on that day with people of all faiths throughout our state and our nation, asking the Lord’s blessing on the victims of that violence and their families, and asking for healing and peace for a world so tragically ruptured by that event.

We will all benefit by finding our way to a church that day for prayer or taking time out to pray at our workplace, our school, or our home.

I endorse Gov. Jim Hodges’ request that our churches toll their bells for one minute beginning at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, the “exact time that American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower of the World Trade Center and the beginning of a deadly day of destruction.”

With our governor, we ask all our Catholic faithful “to pause and reflect” and to offer a prayer at that moment or at other appropriate times during the day.

Please pray for wisdom for our government leaders in their continued response to that terrible act of hatred, a type of violence and vengeance, which is spiraling out of control in our day and time.

At a time when our president is considering a strike on Iraq, but evaluating as well the prospect of getting weapons inspectors into Iraq as a “first step” toward resolving the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein, we need to pray hard that a peaceful solution will be the option that wins out in the end.

We toll our church bells in support of all who suffered from the Sept. 11 tragedy, for a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for peace in our world.