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Mass of Thanksgiving - One Year Anniversary of Fire

October 13, 2017

One year after the fire at St. Michael Villa, we welcomed police and fire department officials from Englewood Cliffs to join us for morning liturgy and breakfast in gratitude for their service.  Fr. Steven Connor, the fire/police chaplain, concelebrated with our chaplain Fr. Jim McDonald.  Englewood Cliffs Chief of Police Mike Cioffi spoke at the end of mass. He led the sisters in praying a Hail Mary, just as he did on the morning of the fire one year ago.

Fr. Jim McDonald, our chaplain, offered a moving reflection on our experience on the day of the fire during his homily:

"Within a matter of minutes our staff, nurses, aides, cooks, dishwashers, maintenance workers, had the buildings evacuated.  Infirmary sisters literally still in their beds, wrapped up in blankets and afghans, covered like little children heading out to play in the autumn air, were out the doors and on their way over to the gym at St. Peter's.

Everyone safely accounted for. People double checking to make sure no-one was left behind.  Nurses wheeling out medical carts and medical charts.

As we were busy getting everyone safely in St. Peter's, our police and fire departments were already on the scene.  As the seriousness of the situation was evaluated, police and fire departments from the surrounding area rushed to the scene.

Helicopters buzzed overhead, news teams from every station gathered out on Hudson Terrace.  Employees not even scheduled to work that day rushed to the scene and literally fought their way through the police blockades preventing anyone from getting in. ... 

For a little while we experienced on a small level what many people face everyday of their lives.  You see, on the day of the fire, we all had something to eat, we all had warm beds to sleep in that night and in the months following.  Our brief sojourn away made us more aware of the almost 65 million people on our planet who are misplaced, no home, no country.  ...

It's Fall once again on the Hudson River.  The leaves are changing colors, the days getting shorter and nights getting longer.  Just like the seasons change so do we.

We move forward in hope, ever thankful for the Provident Hand of our Loving God."

Click here to read his entire homily.

We raise our hearts in prayer and gratitude not only for those first responders who came to our aid on the morning of our fire last year, but those first responders across the world who respond each day to people displaced and in danger from fires, earth quakes, hurricanes, violence, and war.   


Mass of Thanksgiving - One Year Anniversary of Fire

"You will hope if God blesses your work to sow the seeds of peace in modern society."

Bishop Bagshawe