notre dame montreal


In Memoriam

The Names
Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.

Billy Collins, poet laureate of the United States
Read at the special session of Congress held in 
Federal Hall, New York City on Sept. 6, 2002


Vulnerable God, God of the vulnerable, God who we see in the Cross of Jesus Christ, today we remember those so terrifyingly killed, those so violently bereaved, those so cruelly injured in body, mind and spirit last 11 September; as in Christ's wounds we find our salvation, so lead your suffering people through perplexity and pain to peace; show us how to overcome evil with good and, in the name of good, to rid the earth of all that disfigures your creation, all that sets at naught the value of human life, all that disables us from the love of neighbour; So help us on this terrible anniversary day to know the power of our crucified and risen Saviour and, in his power to seek the victory of love, Amen 
A special anniversary prayer for 11 September 
by the Rt Revd Dr Finlay Macdonald

God the compassionate one, whose loving care extends to all the world, we remember this day your children of many nations and many faiths whose lives were cut short by the fierce flames of anger and hatred. Console those who continue to suffer and grieve, and give them comfort and hope as they look to the future. Out of what we have endured, give us the grace to examine our relationships with those who perceive us as the enemy, and show our leaders the way to use our power to serve the good of all for the healing of the nations. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord who, in reconciling love, was lifted up from the earth that he might draw all things to himself. Amen
The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold XXV 
Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church, USA

Loving God, help us to realize that true peacemaking can only become a reality in our world today if it is first a matter in our hearts. Help us to use our resources wisely in the service of others. We ask for the gifts of civility and charity so that we can treat others with respect and love. We ask for the gifts of faith and hope to strengthen our spirits by placing our trust in You rather than ourselves. We ask for the gifts of courage and compassion that will move us into action to help those in need throughout the world. We ask for the gifts of humility and kindness so that we may put the needs and interests of others ahead of our own. We ask for the gifts of patience and perseverance to endure the long struggle for justice. We ask for all of this through Christ our Lord. Amen.