2023 Catholic Media Association Honorable Mention, Biography
The world came to know the Franciscan priest Mychal Judge through the bravery and self-sacrifice he displayed during the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001. But long before his lifeless body was carried out of the rubble (a moment captured in a photograph that became immediately famous), and before he was officially designated "Victim 0001" of that day's attacks, Fr. Judge was, to a great many people, a beloved priest known for his compassion and faith.
In Mychal Judge, Francis DeBernardo offers a spiritual biography that will move and fascinate readers. It details the personal history and experiences—including his Irish-American upbringing, his struggles with alcoholism, his care for the marginalized, and his ministry to firefighters—that formed the man who ultimately died running into the North Tower to try to save and minister to the terrified and the dying. Whether meeting him in these pages for the first time or getting to know him better, readers will encounter in Fr. Judge a figure they will not soon forget.
Francis DeBernardo has served since 1996 as executive director of New Ways Ministry, a national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Catholics and the wider church community. He earned a Master's in English from the University of Maryland (UMD) and has completed doctoral coursework in Rhetoric there and at the Catholic University of America. He has taught courses in writing, rhetorical theory, and literature at UMD. He is currently a board member of the Quixote Center, and he serves on the advisory board of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. His writing has appeared in Commonweal, the National Catholic Reporter, and American Catholic.
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