Patriots Day Message from Father Shelton

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On September 11, 2001, right after the 8 am Mass, I was driving from my parish in Johnson City to Knoxville for a meeting, and so I heard the whole thing on NPR, first through interrupted programming, then through live coverage.

I remember not being able to make mobile phone calls for hours.

Father Bill Gahagan was the pastor in Johnson City, but he was on a trip to Arizona, where he became stranded for days afterwards. I had only been ordained a few weeks, but I suddenly had to figure out some way to lead the parish through the first few days of our collective national trauma.

I remember America being united for a few weeks afterwards. That unity had a sound: flags flapping on car antennas driving down every road.

For those of us old enough to remember that day, we each have a story. For some of us, that day was the end of a story. For others, that day marked a turning point in their lives, especially for those in the armed forces, and those otherwise involved in national security.

It was a terrible day. Those planes were aimed at buildings, but they crashed into America.

May God bless America.

In Christ,

Father Shelton

Let’s pray together:

O God, who arrange all things according to a wonderful design,
graciously received the prayers
we pour out to you for the United States of America,
that, through the wisdom of our leaders and the integrity of our citizens,
harmony and justice may be assured
and lasting prosperity come with peace.
Defend against every attack those who cry to you,
so that we, who trust in your protection,
may not fear the weapons of any foe.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.