Americans Turning to Church and Prayer

A View from the Bronx

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 14, 2001 ( Since the horrific terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, «we have noted that many more people are coming to churches,» says Father Carlos Mullins said, a priest at St. Philip Neri Parish in the Bronx.

In a telephone call, the Argentine priest told ZENIT: «We have four daily Masses in our parish; I noted, in those which I celebrated, that the church was full. In these hours, all are taking recourse to prayer as the ultimate thing that remains: to pray for those who died and for their relatives.»

Father Mullins, who lives about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the World Trade Center, said that some priests are working directly at the site of the tragedy, giving spiritual and material aid wherever possible.

Father Mullins himself is helping students of the parish school he directs. Many of the 600 students have been upset by the pictures they have seen on television.

«We have also helped many people of our community who were close to the Twin Towers and saw people throwing themselves out of the windows, seized by despair,» the priest said. «They remained extremely affected, and the best thing we can do is to alleviate their spirits and encourage them to pray for the souls of those innocent victims and the repentance of their executioners.»

The priest said that Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, visited St. Vincent´s Hospital, where 300 wounded were being treated. On Sunday the cardinal will celebrate two Masses in St. Patrick´s Cathedral to pray for peace.

Asked about Americans´ reaction to the tragedy, Father Mullins said: «There is no talk of vengeance; the tendency is to wait for the authorities to investigate those who are really responsible.»

«The American people are demonstrating great solidarity; they remain calm and do not harbor feelings of vengeance against anyone,» he added. «A spirit of sorrow and sadness prevails. There is no desire to do anything. Only the effort to help wherever possible.»

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