Mychal Judge, was an American Franciscan friar and Catholic priest who served as a chaplain to the FDNY. While serving in that capacity he was killed, becoming the first certified fatality of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Irish-American Father Mychal Fallon Judge O.F.M. was the first official certified fatality of the nearly 3,000 people that perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He was the chaplain for the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY). He was the first of 343 firefighters that lost their lives that day. It is said that he went first to lead his flock.
This is the unique story of a man considered by many to be a Saint
The FDNY always had a reputation for being “heavily Irish”; the Irish-American firefighter was even more stereotypical than the Irish-American Police Officer in New York. Father Judge fit in well with that. He was born Robert Emmett Judge in Brooklyn, New York on 11 May, 1933 to parents from Co. Leitrim. In 2005, a monument in his memory was unveiled in Keshcarrigan, Co. Leitrim, whence his father came. His mother, Mary Fallon came from Drumkeerin, Co. Leitrim. Some people have claimed miraculous healing through prayers to Fr. Judge. Some have called for sainthood for him.
BLACK 47 – MYCHAL
In tribute to his legacy and in celebration of his life Larry Kirwan of the legendary Irish-American band Black 47, wrote this beautiful tribute entitled ‘Mychal’ in his honour that appeared on the band’s 2004 album New York Town.
In New York City I made my home
I loved the streets, the very stones
Cared for my comrades, cherished my friends
Loved all beginnings, had no time for ends
A city’s streets are full of woe
I saw suffering where’er I’d go
I did my best to console and heal
Treat each human with full dignity
I never saw a reason to
Hate someone who thinks different than you
Each one has their anointed place
In the love reflected in their God’s face
We all have sorrow, our share of trials
We all are sinners in each other’s eyes
Love alone can heal the pain
God bestows love in so many ways
I love the company of friends
The fire and the music sparkling in their eyes
But I achieved my heart’s desire
When I rode beside the ones who fight the fires
I have my failings and I have tried
To look them squarely in the eye
To be there when someone might call
For I know cruel well how hard it is to fall
As I arise on this September morn
The sun is beaming down, the streets are warm
God’s in His heaven and all is well
I will go forth and do His will.
Keshcarrigan, County Leitrim, Ireland
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