By Carol Ann Benanti Staten Island Advance
During this sobering time of year, as we band together to reflect and remember the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, and observe commemorative events set for the next few days, we have learned from Ginger and Al Petrocelli that their son Mark and other victims who graduated from St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School were remembered Tuesday in the Huguenot school’s gymnasium during a special mass at 8:15am celebrated by the Rev. Michael Reilly, principal.
Sadly, as we reported during past years, at least seven alumni — among them Mark Petrocelli of Great Kills — most of them young New York City firefighters, and 18 relatives, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of Sea students were reported dead or missing in the days and weeks that followed the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Mark had just been promoted to commodities broker and was to attend a meeting on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower 1 on the morning of September 11. Mark was two days shy of his 29th birthday.
The entire school participates in the mass, celebrated in remembrance of the alumni and other family members of students who lost their lives on September 11 along with Mark, Class of 1990: Michael Derienzo, Class of 1983; Patrick Buhse, Class of 1983; Scott Davidson, Class of 1986; John Tierney, Class of 1992; Michael D’Auria, Class of 1994 and Joseph Doyle, Class of 1994.
In the years that have passed, Mark’s parents have designed a touching memorial to him, a front garden at their Huguenot home.
On Friday, another mass will be celebrated by Father Reilly in the Chapel at Sea in commemoration of what would have been Mark’s 41st birthday.
On Wednesday, the Petrocellis will attend the FDNY Battalion 57 Memorial Mass in St. Augustine R.C. Church in Brooklyn.
The mass is offered for all firefighters killed on September 11 who were in or assigned to those firehouses that are in Battalion 57.
At the mass, extended family members of firefighters who were assigned to Battalion 57 will also be remembered. Al Petrocelli, Sr. is a retired battalion chief.
And since Al Petrocelli, Jr. was assigned to Ladder Co. 105 as a firefighter, Mark will be remembered at that mass as well.