Monsignor Martin Geraghty, pastor for 13 years at the St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor, presided over 12 memorial services for the members of his church who perished on September 11.
Belle Harbor and neighboring Rockaway, a middle-class seaside enclave of police officers, firefighters, nurses and civil servants, was hit hard by the attack on the World Trade Center. It is estimated that some 40 residents perished alongside dozens of relatives of residents.
On November 9th, Fr. Geraghty had just completed the last memorial service for one of the WTC victims. On November 12th, American Airlines Flight 587 came down on Rockaway, killing all 260 passengers on board as well as six local residents. “I think we were all glad to finally get through that last service,” Geraghty told reporters on the Monday afternoon after the crash. “It was a short weekend, wasn’t it?”
After the plane crash, he again found himself in the role of spiritual comforter and healer to his shell-shocked parishioners. “Everybody who has to confront a disaster or death has to ask why, but it is important to have faith to help us understand why. It is the reality that God will hold us all together and will bring us together that helps us get through it.” ♦