Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Priest Discovers a Family's Faith

Captain Jeremy Clarke

Pilot who's helicopter collided with a plane over the Hudson River.

Fiancé,Son, Brother, Nephew, Friend, and Man of Faith.

It seems that whenever we open the newspapers or watch the TV news, we hear of more tragedy. When the story broke out concerning the collision of the helicopter and plane over the Hudson River, my wife and I were in a hotel room watching CNN in Greensburg Pennsylvania. The news was heartwrenching. It really hit home as this is the place where I grew up - this was home.

This story is out of today's Wall Street Journal. It is written by Father Jonathan Morris, LC who serves as parochial vicar at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York City. Father says in the article - "from a calm Saturday morning hitting golf balls off the 18th pier I would soon come to know posthumously a great captain

A Different Kind of Miracle on the Hudson

I know now it wasn't happenstance that I was on the shores of the Hudson River last weekend, when a small plane collided with Capt. Jeremy Clarke's helicopter, taking his life and the lives of eight others on a clear Saturday afternoon in August.

As I whispered a prayer after his helicopter plunged into the Hudson, others around me scrambled to call 911 and ran to the edge of the piers to get a better look at the surreal tragedy playing out before us. I never would have guessed that from a calm Saturday morning hitting golf balls off the 18th pier I would soon come to know posthumously a great captain who was, first and foremost, a great man, known by others as fiancé, son, brother, nephew, friend, and man of faith.
I am a Catholic priest at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in Manhattan and by invitation of the inter-faith Disaster Chaplaincy Services, I have spent the last few days accompanying Capt. Clarke's fiancée, Danielle Granahan; his father and mother, Roger and Beatrice Clarke; his sister, Selina; and extended family members as they confront one of the greatest challenges of our human existence—the untimely, unfair, and sudden death of a soul mate.

The miracle I have witnessed since last Saturday's crash is certainly less joyous than the first Miracle on the Hudson, when a passenger jet turned the Hudson River into a smooth landing pad for more than 100 lucky souls this past January, but not for that reason is it less miraculous. For in the families of the deceased, Capt. Clarke's family in particular, I have witnessed inexplicable goodness and love.

Please read the rest of the story HERE


Anne said...

Heartbreaking story Brian! I loved his letter to God before his confirmation, so touching. Thanks for sharing.

Gabriella said...

This tragic story really hit me hard and the Italian media has been following it thoroughly as the passengers were Italian.
Fr. Morris' story is touching.
I believe that behind the facade of this modern world, its selfishness, its godlessness, there are a lot of people out there with great faith, goodness and love.