OVERRIDE

The Book of Mychal

The Surprising Life and Heroic Death of Father Mychal Judge

Michael Daly

St. Martin's Griffin

The inspiring story of New York Fire Department Chaplain Father Mychal Judge

His death certificate bears the number one. As chaplain to the Fire Department of New York, Father Mychal Judge was officially the first to go. A loving priest with a gift for the gab-gregarious yet humble, a healer with the ability to wipe away a widow's tears and put a smile on a fireman's face.

And on September 11th Father Mike rushed to the fires at the World Trade Center as quickly as those who fought them, losing his own life while tirelessly ministering to New York's bravest.

Father Mike recounts the colorful, astonishing and at times troubled life of a priest who saw the potential for good in everybody-in the homeless person he slipped a dollar to on the street; the alcoholic he sought to coax to an AA meeting; the early victims of AIDS he embraced and comforted; the troubled young men he visited in jail; and the thousands of firefighters he blessed as they rushed to their rigs answering the call.

Here was a priest who rejoiced in the life around him and understood that even the most terrible times present us with wonders-that good always arises from the bad in the most unexpected ways.

Or as Father Mike would say, "My God is a God of surprises."

In this touching book, author Michael Daly retraces the footsteps of Father Mike as his vocation takes us inside the firehouse, inside his friary and his Church, and inside the chaos that often befalls New York.

This is the tale of a larger than life priest who, in death, became a symbol of how much we truly lost that Tuesday in September. Father Mike is the inspirational story of a hero priest who blessed so many lives and will long be remembered by it.

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Chapter one

The first surprise was always the size and strength of his hands, hands that at the greeting clasp seemed meant for riveting the high steel or fielding a hot grounder, hands that blessed and anointed as if the spiritual were as actual as honest labor or tender sex. Hands that made the holy real, just as the hands of the firefighters waiting beside him prepared to make the real holy, hefting tools and tugging at air tank straps.

His own hands hung useless at his sides as he now stood on West Street in a Roman collar and a black standard-issue FDNY firefighter’s
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The Book of Mychal

The Surprising Life and Heroic Death of Father Mychal Judge

Michael Daly

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St. Martin's Griffin

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