Fr. Mychal Judge was born Robert Emmet Judge in Brooklyn, NY in 1933 to immigrants from County Leitrim.
As a young man he did not hesitate to follow his calling to be a Franciscan friar. Upon taking his religious vows he took the name Fallon Michael, and later shorted it to Mychal.
Father Judge was a beloved character among the less fortunate in New York City. On one occasion, while walking down the street he gave his coat to a woman who he said “needed it more than me.”
Appointed an FDNY Chaplain in 1992, he was well known throughout the department for his caring nature towards all that sought help. On September 11th, upon hearing of the attacks on our country, Judge immediately went to the Twin Towers, where Mayor Rudy Giuliani asked him to pray for the victims and the city.
Judge continued ministering to the dead, injured, and those that needed consulation in the midst of the crisis. His duties took him to the lobby of the North Tower. The collapse of the South Tower at 9:59am caused a blast which sent debris through the adjacent building, killing Judge and several others.
His body was taken to St. Peter’s Catholic Church where he was laid out before the altar. He was recognized by the NYCME as the first official death of 9/11.
In 2005 a memorial (pictured) was erected to his memory in his father’s hometown of Keshcarrigan, County Leitrim. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
22 years later, we remember not just the death of nearly 3,000 Americans, but we remember the heroism and unity Americans exemplified in our hour of crisis.