Remembering chaplain who died on Thanksgiving

This writer mourns the loss of Msgr. John Delendick, FDNY chaplain since 1996. He was the pastor of St. Michael’s Church on Fourth Avenue and 41st Street in Sunset Park when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. As soon as he heard the horrific news, he rushed to Ground Zero to provide spiritual guidance and bless victims who died or were wounded.  

Msgr. Delendick with an NYPD officer.

He ended his tenure at St. Michael’s in 2004 and was appointed pastor of the Shrine Church of St. Jude at 1677 Canarsie Road. After he retired as pastor, he was still able to perform his priestly duties in addition to remaining an FDNY chaplain. 

A woman puts a carnation on the 9/11 Remembrance Wall.

We became closer to him over the years because he always officiated at the annual Brooklyn 9/11 Remembrance Wall ceremony at the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium, now known as Maimonides Park – an event we attended, wrote about and  took pictures of each year. The program takes place the day before the anniversary of 9/11. In his own words, Monsi – Rev. Delendick’s nickname by many – said it was important to have flowers at these ceremonies so that family and friends could  place one on the engraved granite photos on the wall. He even mentioned he had been personally paying for the flowers since 2008! 

Two women place flowers on the wall.

On July 14, 2023 Chaplain Delendick took part in the 14th Annual Brooklyn 9/11 Wall of Remembrance Heroes Night inside the Cyclones’ ballpark, where he was one of the honorees.

As a result  of the toxic atmosphere at Ground Zero, he suffered from cancer, which ultimately took his life.

A fire chief honors one of his buddies.

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