Father Michael Duffy received two unsettling phone calls following the 9/11 attacks. The first informed him that his close friend and mentor, Father Mychal Judge, had been killed at the World Trade Center. During the second call, he learned Father Mychal had requested that Duffy give the homily at his funeral.
The two Franciscan priests met in the 1970s, when they were assigned to the same parish in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Father Michael eventually settled in Philadelphia to work with poor communities there, while Father Mychal found his way back to his native New York where he ministered to everyone from the homeless to the mayor.
On September 11, Father Mychal was serving as chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. That morning he found himself where he always seemed to end up—right in the thick of things. He arrived at the World Trade Center shortly after the first plane hit.
Originally aired September 9, 2011, on NPR’s Morning Edition.