Representatives of Burbank’s finest were among a packed congregation of school children, faculty and parents attending the “Remembering 9/11” prayer service Sept. 9 at St. Robert Bellarmine Church. Hosted by the neighboring high school, Bellarmine-Jefferson, the event drew Burbank’s mayor, local police and fire personnel, and members of the military, including a color guard from the U.S. Army standing at attention in front of the altar as high school senior Jasmine Smith sang a heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem to open the ceremony. “This morning, we gather as a community to take time to reflect on this most tragic event in the history of our country,” said John Matheus, new principal of Bellarmine-Jefferson High School. “It is our duty today to pray for all families who have lost loved ones in this occurrence and to keep reminding ourselves to strengthen our resolve for world peace.”Father John Collins, pastor, who acknowledged that many children present were too young to remember the terrorist attacks a decade ago, said it was an important event to remember each year.“We honor those people who died … and we honor also those people who gave their lives that day, courageously in serving us,” said Father Collins, who confided that, as a former restaurant manager who worked for five-and-a-half years three blocks from the World Trade Center, he knew a lot of the people who lost their lives that day.Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Father Collins said the Scripture passage continues to be important and relevant today.“When Jesus sat down with his disciples and taught them the Beatitudes, he offered an alternative [to fighting and killing],” said Father Collins. “Jesus said be peace makers, not peace thinkers or peace dreamers, but peace makers. You and I have that challenge.”Following Father Collins’ homily, Victoria Rosenberg, student body president of Bellarmine-Jefferson, made a special presentation to Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes. “I present this commemorative plaque to you and the citizens of Burbank in the hope that we might set a good example of harmony and cooperation among all nations of the world,” said Rosenberg.Cabrini Sister Regina Palamara, a St. Finbar parishioner who was living near the 59th Street Bridge in New York on Sept. 11, said that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, New Yorkers bonded together. “Something was born that day that is a very popular word today: social network,” said Sister Palamara. “We were not individuals anymore. There was a net embracing all of us. It didn’t matter what color you were, what religion you were, where you were from. We were the human race, helping each other.”“I think this prayer service was profound,” said Brother of St. Patrick Philip Shepler, Bellarmine-Jefferson’s director of counseling. “Hopefully, it’s something the students will keep in their hearts for a long time.”“It was very emotional, especially when it was topped off by the little kids (in the St. Robert Elementary School choir) singing ‘God Bless the USA,’” said John Flynn, parent of a former Bellarmine-Jefferson student.“It touched everyone at the school,” said ASB president Rosenberg. “High schools are rowdy usually, but everyone was pretty silent just listening to what everyone had to say.” As far as what she would most remember from the prayer service, Rosenberg commented, “Overall, I think Sister Palamara said it and Father John: we just all have to be as one and stop looking at all the differences and focus on how we’re all similar.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0916/911/{/gallery}