9/11 chaplain serves immigrants
Franciscan Father Brian Jordan proudly shows the plaque he carries in his pocket that identifies him as an honorary inspector of the Police Department of the City of New York. He received it because of his contributions during the days following the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.
A counselor at an immigration center sponsored by the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York, Jordan also deserves recognition because of his fight against unscrupulous people who abuse undocumented immigrants.
The St. Francis Immigration Center was founded by Jordan in 1999. From an office located in the basement of the Church of St. Francis, the center offers free help with filling out immigration forms, counseling, and workshops on immigration policies and laws. It also advocates so that both the private and public sectors provide better services for immigrants.
Jordan was a law student at Siena College—the university recently honored him for his humanitarian efforts—before making his vows as a Franciscan priest 27 years ago. Through his ministry in multicultural parishes of the Bronx, Boston, and Silver Spring, Maryland, Jordan has served immigrants and refugees, particularly Hispanics about whom he has written in newspapers and magazines. Jordan even worked for the INS, where he gained more experience in immigration issues.
But perhaps it is the NYPD that shows the greatest appreciation for Jordan. He was one of the police chaplains bringing comfort to victims and rescue workers after the World Trade Center attack on September 11 and was the priest who blessed the iron cross found standing among the rubble.
Or perhaps it is the children of Central and South America who, thanks to his mediation, have come to the United States for surgeries they needed. Besides founding and running the St. Francis Immigration Center, Jordan also founded and has run the Worldwide Children’s Foundation of New York since 2002. This non-profit organization seeks donations and carries out the necessary paperwork so that children with health problems can have access to lifesaving or life-improving surgery. When asked why he does all this, Jordan finds the answer in his priestly vocation, immersed in the charism of his Franciscan congregation: “Helping the poor, the immigrant, the alienated.”
—Excerpted from Revista Maryknoll