Each year, Patriot Day is observed on September 11th in the United States as the National Day of Service and Remembrance in memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, Arlington, Virginia and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As the nation commemorates this day, taking time to remember and reflect now 21 years later, we share the prayer offered by two Popes during separate visits to the site of the attacks in New York. Pope Benedict XVI prayed it during his April 20, 2008 visit to Ground Zero and Pope Francis offered it again while at the September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York on September 25, 2015.
O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here–
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.