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Surely one of the most spiritually and visually powerful moments of the papal visit will be Benedict’s stop at Ground Zero on Sunday morning, April 20, the final day of the visit. The pontiff will not give an address, but will be led to the site by Cardinal Edward Egan and will kneel for a few moments of silent prayer. He will then light a candle brought to him by an employee of the Port Authority. Here is the text of a special prayer composed for the event, according to the official missal for the trip release by the Vatican:
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
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.
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.
At the conclusion of the prayer, the pope will be given an aspergillum and will bless the ground in all four directions.