Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

9-11-01 DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Churches Observe Solemn Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

9-11-01 DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Churches Observe Solemn Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Maraghy, Times-Union staff writer

Sept. 11 brings to mind clouds of ashes billowing from the crumbling World Trade Center.

Yesterday, Sept. 11 and ashes took on spiritual meaning at a Jacksonville Episcopal church. Those attending morning and evening services at the church were anointed with ashes -- something usually reserved for the Lenten season.

From old-fashion solemn prayer vigils to modern-day patriotic celebrations complete with rock bands, churches in Northeast Florida held services to mark the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Feeling unsure of how to observe the tragic events, several believers said going to church to pray seemed most appropriate.

"It just feels like the right place to be," said Vicki Hagler, who attended a morning service at Orange Park Presbyterian Church before work.

With eyes closed, believers, some in silence and some aloud, asked God to comfort mourners and to protect the country from future attacks and war. Some asked God to help them forgive those responsible -- a task with which they said they still struggled.

The Rev. Tony Ferguson of St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Timuquana Road said he felt administering ashes was appropriate. The Catholic and Protestant practice is normally reserved for Ash Wednesday in February, which marks the start of Lent.

"Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return," the robed priest repeated as he formed ashen crosses on the foreheads of kneeling church members.

It's a reminder to Christians that life on Earth is transitory.

"We can mush around with, 'oh, ain't it awful?' or we can say, 'What can we learn from 9/11?' . . . We are here to serve the Lord, Jesus. We are all going to die, and eternity is all that counts. We need to work for eternity now," he said.

At Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Normandy Boulevard, church bells tolled at 8:46 a. …

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