Nine years later, Father Gerard Critch’s white medical jacket smells of smoke from the fires at Ground Zero.
On Saturday, Critch will deliver his message of healing to the public during a memorial Mass at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Naples, Florida, in honor of the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Father Critch says that Saturday’s Mass offers a way to ritualize the healing. He says that he suffered nightmares and sleepless nights for years after his time at Ground Zero, but says that sharing his experiences have set him on a trajectory to recovery. Critch warns that being consumed by anger will only lead to more pain.
“We need to become instruments of peace,” Critch says. “Peace in the world has to start with peace in the individual. It has to start with peace in your own heart.”