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opinion/commentary View Comments

'Help is finally here.'
By The Editors
Source: Catholic New York
Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2011
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New Year's is a time for resolutions, and New York's Catholics will be making them just like everyone else, vowing to lose weight and exercise more, to save money and pay down debt, to spend quality time with family and friends and to learn something new -- like Photoshop or French.

We'd like to see a lot of Catholics add to their list as well a commitment to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days, to receive the sacraments often, to be actively involved in their parish and to donate time and/or money to helping the poor.
But New Year's isn't only about resolutions. It's also a time to celebrate, and this year all New Yorkers have something special to celebrate.

In the last days of 2010, with Congress winding down its session, the long-stalled bill to cover the cost of ongoing medical care for 9/11 rescue and recovery workers overcame a major hurdle with its approval in the Senate. The bipartisan vote, which took many in Washington by surprise, was followed quickly by passage in the House and an announcement that President Obama would sign the bill into law.

New York's Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who pushed hard to negotiate a compromise with their Republican colleagues, called the Dec. 22 vote "the Christmas miracle we've been looking for."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan and Queens, who sponsored it in the House with fellow Democrat Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan and Republican Peter King of Nassau County, joyfully told 9/11 responders and survivors: "Help is finally here."

The emergency workers and 9/11 families that packed the Capitol were rightfully jubilant at the news.

We share their happiness.

We also want to take the opportunity to thank Mayor Bloomberg, city officials, and the entire New York congressional delegation for their steadfast support during years of intense debate on the bill.

We've called for passage of the measure -- known formally as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act -- before. And although the costs and time frames are reduced from the original, the legislation goes a long way toward repaying those heroic and selfless workers who spent days, weeks and months breathing the toxic dust and smoke of the ground zero rubble after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The $4.3 billion, five-year measure provides $1.8 billion for health care for first responders and others at the World Trade Center site and $2.5 billion to reopen the Victims Compensation Fund for five years.

The argument for doing this has been made many times, on this and on other editorial pages and by our public officials. But it's worth making again.

The firefighters, police officers and emergency medical workers who were the first responders did not hesitate at the site of the burning World Trade Center towers as they rushed to save the thousands of people trapped inside. The recovery workers who spent months digging through the noxious rubble in a search for human remains displayed remarkable courage as they carried out a grim and dangerous task.

And even though the majority of rescue and recovery workers were from the New York metropolitan area, the 9/11 attacks were not directed only at New York. The attacks were aimed at all Americans, on our nation and our values. We applaud Congress for recognizing that and addressing it.


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Miguel Agustín Pro: 
		<i>¡Viva Cristo Rey!</i> (Long live Christ the King) were the last words Fr. Pro uttered before he was executed for being a Catholic priest and serving his flock. 
<p>Born into a prosperous, devout family in Guadalupe de Zacatecas, Mexico, he entered the Jesuits in 1911, but three years later fled to Granada, Spain, because of religious persecution in Mexico. He was ordained in Belgium in 1925. </p><p>Fr. Pro immediately returned to Mexico, where he served a Church forced to go “underground.” He celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and ministered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics. </p><p>He and his brother Roberto were arrested on trumped-up charges of attempting to assassinate Mexico’s president. Roberto was spared but Miguel was sentenced to face a firing squad on November 23, 1927. His funeral became a public demonstration of faith. He was beatified in 1988.</p> American Catholic Blog Virtues guide our behavior according to the directives of faith and reason, leading us toward true freedom based on self-control, which fills us with joy that comes from living a good and moral life.

 
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