Sometimes, we are more powerful in death than in life. Queer warriors like Joan of Arc sacrificed themselves without ever being understood. The genius of Leonardo da Vinci continues to unfurl, as does his apparent penchant for same-sex affection. And 20th century visionaries like Alan Turing and Freddie Mercury bolster their status as icons who were vastly ahead of their respective times.
We would like to add another name to the pantheon of LGBTQ+ pioneers who illuminated our consciousness, even when they resided in the shadows.
Father Mychal Judge was a chaplain with the New York City Fire Department. While hordes of survivors were rushing away from the World Trade Center, Mychal was rushing in to help.
He died that fateful day, but his compassion endures, and it is now reverberating into a clarion call for commemoration.
“We are very proud of our brother’s legacy and we have shared his story with many people,” announces the Reverend Kevin Mullen. “We leave it to our brothers in the generations to come to inquire about sainthood.”
Mychal’s tireless work with the homeless community as well as his outreach to educate the general public about HIV/AIDS qualified him as a saint while he was alive. But the fact that he perished while selflessly attending to the emergency needs of a terrorized metropolis solidifies his sainthood status.
Mychal Judge could become the first gay saint in the celestial realm.
Due to the needlessly complicated relationship between religion and orientation, the Father kept his sexuality hidden to the public, but close friends knew his truth. Despite honoring his vow of celibacy, Mychal also had a wild side: his caboose.
According to a fellow gay priest, Mychal awoke one morning to find a shamrock tattoo on his buttocks. It was the product of a heavy night of drinking as well as a life lived out loud and (quietly) proud.
“Mychal Judge shows us that you can be gay and holy,” Reverend James Martin tells the Daily Mail. “Father Judge’s selflessness is a reminder of the sanctity that the church often overlooks in LGBTQ people… Heaven is filled with LGBTQ people. All the church has to do is start to recognize this.”
He knelt at the foot of evil as the towers crumbled around him. He looks down at us lovingly from his perch in an inclusive afterlife. The least we can do is look back up with reverence. If anyone deserves the title of saint, it is Father Mychal Judge.
Never forget. Always love.
Last modified: September 11, 2021