(Note: This is not the Govt established Memorial)
The Non-denominational Chapel and grounds,completed within one year after the crash of Flight 93, is a must to visit for Americans, and especially for those families and friends of the victims of the Terrorist Attacks on our country on September 11, 2001. The Rev. Alphonse T. Mascherino (Father Al) founded the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel in Shanksville, Pa.. The Memorial Chapel may be difficult to find on the country road near the site of the Flight 93, but it is worth the find. We asked at the official govt memorial site, and they gave us a directions.
There is a wonderful story about the site. We visited the chapel and found the founder, Father Al, in ordinary work clothing tending to the gardens and cleaning the chapel. He told us that he felt that although a national monument at Shanksville was in the works, the relatives of those killed in the crash should have a place to go in the meantime where they could find comfort. He told us that it was as close to what some would call a direction from God that he had ever gotten to work toward providing that place of comfort. Having little money but a heart to serve he drove around the area searching for an appropriate site to establish such a place.
For $300 he bought what had been a rural Lutheran Church, but old and run-down was then being used as a feed mill. Father Al gave himself a deadline of a year to make the run-down building into a non-denominational chapel to honor the passengers and flight crew of Flt 93. With the wonderful help of friends and businesses, the project was completed by the first anniversary of the crash. Almost immediately, families of the heroes of Flight 93 flocked there. Rev Al provided a quiet place that became filled with mementos the families brought and left to memorialize their loved ones. It's very touching to see all the things that are now on display there, representing and honoring the heroes of Flight 93.
Father Al served as the memorial chapel's director for 12 years before retiring in Feb, 2013 for health reasons. He died on Feb. 15, 2013.
The nonprofit memorial now honors everyone who died in the terrorist attacks. Open from March until late fall, it "serves as a spiritual refuge and place of meditation and prayer" for all denominations. Beautiful memorial services have been held annually at the site since the first anniversary the tragic crash of Flight 93.
Pat Morris, a retired flight attendant who helped raise money for the Crew of Flight 93 Monument at the site, said Father Mascherino was devoted to the project and to the survivors of those who died when United Flight 93 crashed.
"It is his legacy. I don't know many people who are that dedicated," she was quoted as saying.
Shortly before his death in February, Father Al urged those also involved in the effort to create and maintain the 9/11 memorial chapel to carry on with his work, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said in their tribute to him at the time of his death.
Archbishop Ramzi Musallam, of the Catholic Church of the East, will now oversee the chapel.
"He trusted in me to continue his work," Musallam said. "I thank God for his trust and his love as a brother. He asked for me to keep the dream, to keep those heroes here on the mountain alive."
Contributions to may be made to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, Shanksville, Pa. 15560.
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