By Father Bob Kraig I was privileged to celebrate God’s mercy and forgiveness at a couple of our weekend liturgies this past weekend. While it is something I do every weekend with our praying community it was especially moving this past Sunday, Sept. 11. There was something there – perhaps God’s Spirit! But you could tell the people were aware of God’s presence as we not only celebrated Eucharist but commemorated 9/11.
Please don’t think that during this week of 9/11 that having a Polish flag with an American flag is a sign of protest on my part or that I am being anti-American. I’m of Polish descent and nine years ago I had the opportunity to go to Poland with two good priest friends of mine. It was something I always wanted to do and was grateful to have done it and especially to have had the opportunity to view the Auschwitz concentration camp.
As I pondered 9/11 along with a recent experience of mine I reflected on how fragile life is. We are not guaranteed anything in life except God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. OK! That still doesn’t explain the Polish flag.
Here’s why I have it with the American flag – and again not to make any kind of statement. The first thing we did in Poland was visit Krakow Square. At St. Mary’s church in the corner of the square there is a trumpet player who comes out every hour on the hour – 24/7 – and plays a song that as the legend goes he was playing to warn his fellow country brothers and sisters that the enemy was approaching. He was struck with an arrow and died instantly while playing the song. This tradition continues with the trumpeter as I said every hour on the hour with the trumpet player coming out on the balcony of St. Mary’s and playing the song. And the interesting thing is he stops playing the song somewhere in the middle without finishing it as a reminder of that fatal day.
As we reflect on 9/11 our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who died and their families. Hopefully we never forget them and the pain and agony our country went through. What I like about the trumpet player at the square in Krakow is that the song never finishes – it ends suddenly without a normal ending. Every hour people are reminded how fragile life is. And it truly is!
In this week of commemorating 9/11 we pray for all those who lost their lives as well as their families. And we recommit ourselves to God to bring peace to others because as we saw fifteen years ago and today, every hour on the hour in Krakow Square, that life is very fragile.