.- When Pope Benedict XVI was asked what he wanted to do when he came to the United States, he told his staff he wanted to make sure he visited Ground Zero. This morning the Holy Father just did this that.
Sixteen family members, 4 first responders and 4 survivors were present as the Pope descended the ramp down into the pit where the Twin Towers once stood, knelt and silently prayed.
After lighting a candle, the Holy Father offered a prayer for the victims, their families and those who survived all three attacks on 9/11.
“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.”
The Pope also prayed for peace in “our violent world; peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth.”
He then prayed for conversion of all “those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred.”
After concluding his prayer, Pope Benedict blessed Ground Zero and the people present with holy water.
The 24 people invited to the ceremony then met individually with the Pope.
To read the whole prayer click here.