Prayer at Ground Zero
Pope Benedict XVI
May true peace and love reign in the hearts of all

On Sunday, 20 April [2008], the Holy Father was taken to "Ground Zero", the site of the Twin Towers prior to the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people. Today, on the site of the towers is a vast crater, 80 metres deep, which is currently a building site where the future Freedom Tower will stand. Here, accompanied by Cardinal Edward Egan, the Pope walked to the "Bed Rock" of Ground Zero where he prayed in silence and lit a candle. Also present were New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and other area Politicians, together with 24 representatives of the rescue workers, the injured and the victims' relatives.

The Holy Father offered the following prayer:

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
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
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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.

Distributed by:
The Holy See Press Office
20 April 2008
Published in:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
23 April 2008, p. 23

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