It was incredibly moving to see Pope Benedict XVI visiting Ground Zero this morning. He was there to offer prayers for the 9/11 victims, and comfort those people who were there to meet him and represent the victims.
There was a lottery for 24 spots to meet the Holy Father. I put in for it but wasn't chosen. Among those who were there were the victims' loved ones, first responders and survivors of the World Trade Center attack. The Pope had requested just a small group there to take part, and that was the right thing to do.
The Holy Father came down the ramp in the Popemobile, and then made his way on foot with Cardinal Egan of New York. He then knelt in prayer and after a few moments lit a candle for the victims. He said a prayer for them, which was very simple and moving. At the same time, somber music played in background by a single cellist, and it brought back incredibly vivid memories for me of the times I have been at the September 11 remembrances.
Then each person met the Pope, who comforted each person. They were also given pieces of the Twin Towers' steel in the form of a cross. The entire ceremony lasted about 20 minutes. There were no speeches, no homily, just simple prayers for the victims. The Pope then returned to his Popemobile and left the site.
It was the perfect way for the Holy Father to pay his respects at the WTC site. It was solemn, touching, respectful and very memorable.