The Rev. Mychal Judge was following his call as chaplain--ministering to his fellow fire fighters at their moment of greatest need--when his end came.
While administering last rites to a dying fire fighter--with his hat removed as he offered prayer-Judge was felled by toppling rubble in the unstable minutes before the trade center collapsed. He died as he lived: serving God as he served other
"Father Mike," as he was called by one of many fire fighters who knew and loved him,"was a once-in-a-lifetime individual. You'll never meet anyone like him again. He would help anybody. He always had compassion."
Judge was remembered as a man "who treated presidents and paupers with the same respect." The Brooklyn-born son of Irish immigrants, he had a warm, inviting personality that filled any room, even, as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton recalls, at the White House.
"What a bearer of light," Sen. Clinton said in her eulogy. "He lit up the White House even as he lit up every place he found himself."
Among the first of more than 350 fire- fighters lost at the trade center, Mychal Judge leads a hero's procession that will linger long in this city's admiration.
"We came to bury his voice but not his spirit, his hands but not his works, his heart but not his love," says Michael Duffy, like Mychal Judge, a Franciscan priest.
"Mychal Judge will be on the other side of death to greet them. He'll greet them with that big Irish smile and say, 'Hello, welcome. I want to take you to my Father."' .
Remembering Father Mike and
the fire department he served and loved.