Did you know there's an "Official Vatican Prayer to Saint John Paul II"?
Oh, Saint John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading it along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus.
Bless the young, who were your great passion.
Help them dream again,
help them look up high again to find the light
that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.
May you bless families, bless each family! You warned of Satan's assault against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth. Saint John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family
and every life that blossoms from the family.
Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love:
pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.
This was actually a pre-meeting for the full scale Bishops Synod on the Family in October, 2015.
The document he is talking about is here - mid-synod relatio - & takes a little over 20 minutes to read. Someone who wanted to politicize it or promote a certain aganda could certainly pull out lines to support whatever their position might be.
A Pro-life stalwart - Rich died Saturday after about a four month illness. He was 81. His wake is Tuesday 6-9PM at Holy Name of Mary Church in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, and funeral Wednesday at 10AM, Holy Name of Mary. Rich was active in many, many ministries at Holy Name.
What a great person. To quote Sister Lucy Marie of the Sisters of Life - "Such a great hero interceding for us – such a dear and kind man." She got it exactly right.
Rich's obituary is here - In Memory of Richard L. Fuerst June 17, 1933 - October 11, 2014 , and contains an extensive photo gallery if you'd care to peruse it. Rich had eight children. He lost the youngest - Theresa - to a car accident in 1997. Theresa had gotten motivated to involve herself in the Right to Life movement by her attendance at the great youth rally in Denver, with John Paul II, in 1993. Rich told several people that what motivated him to get heavily involved as an activist was the loss of Theresa.
This picture of Rich in May 2011 captures him perfectly.
And here he is at the March for Life in Washington, in January,2009. He's with Sr. Lucy.
Wonderful man. A big loss for our community. He led a great life, and he'll have a better heaven.
Reminder: Tomorrow's funeral Mass for Fr. will be televised on EWTN.
These pictures were taken by LifeNet between Noontime and 1:30 p.m. yesterday at St. Adalbert's Church near St. Crispin's Friary on E. 156th Street in the Bronx. This was the original friary where Father Benedict began his CFR congregation in 1987.
In the basement, along with refreshments, videographers asked attendees for personal comments about Father Groeschel. The friars will eventually produce a video using the comments.
Father died on October 3rd, vigil of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
A contingent from the Sisters of Life, arriving.
The Black Madonna, above the altar.
Some of the sisters from Father's CFR community. There are 31 sisters and 115 priests and brothers.
Sr. Claire leading the rosary. She has been a Franciscan CFR for 16 years. See the sketch of Fr. Benedict to the left!
Sisters from Mother Teresa's Missionary of Charity congregation - Father had a close relationship with their community. And three members of the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance (FPO). On the right is Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR.
EWTN will air Father's funeral Mass at 11 a.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 10, and the Vigil Mass at 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 9. Find it at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder. Also, on Oct. 12th Sunday Night Prime will be a special show honoring Fr. Benedict not to be missed!
From Chris: we received it Saturday morning, a few hours after Fr. died.
Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., died yesterday on the same day as St. Francis of Assisi, after praying a rosary. He was a renowned retreat director, author, lecturer, teacher, counselor and guide to many, perhaps the most well-known priest in the United States. It was my privilege to call him co-founder of Good Counsel helping homeless mothers and babies, my spiritual director and friend.
Fr. Benedict and I met during the winter of 1980 while I was at a mission helping homeless and runaway kids in Times Square. He came during the most difficult day I was there, gave a homily filled with practical as well as spiritual insights which began a long personal collaboration in helping the poor and helping those who help others.
Considering the plight of homeless mothers and babies, whom I saw coming off the streets into this mid-town Manhattan shelter, I asked Fr. Benedict, “Why didn’t someone do something to help homeless mothers go back to school, find a job (and as he would often say) ‘take that next good step in life.’ “ His final response was that he would help me if I wanted to start a home for mothers and babies.
Good Counsel homes is operating nearly 30 years now helping mothers return to school and find jobs. Fr. Benedict helped me every step of the way, was the founding chairman of the Board, was a personal and professional guide as we worked with difficult situations and he was a major reason Good Counsel was able to open our Daystar home for special needs mothers who are not only homeless, but have a mental health diagnosis and/or an addiction.
For a while I worked with him at the home he began for young men, St. Francis Home in Brooklyn. I’ve seen him calm the anger and rage of young men. He was sympathetic and inspiring to them as well as to Good Counsel’s young women.
While traveling with him on pilgrimages in Italy, France, Ireland and England, he was often met by people who were familiar with his writing, his tapes or appearances on EWTN, the international television network. He always was himself, kind, friendly, helpful.
Many times I’d meet with him late at night because he was counseling priests up until midnight.
He’d often sleep only four hours a night. When he once complained to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom he was appointed as liaison by the then Cardinal of New York, Terrance Cooke, that he was always tired. He related that Mother asked him, “How long do you sleep?” He responded, “Four hours.” She replied, “That’s the problem.” “What?” he asked. “You sleep too much.” Fr. Benedict enjoyed that kind of humor.
Fr. Benedict often said he was looking forward to going to “Purgatory, because it was like Jersey City” where he grew up.
Many people believe Fr. Benedict to be a saint. While he was not perfect, his preaching and work with the poor touched millions of lives. When he was going to speak to priests on a retreat in Florida on January 11, 2004, he was hit by a car and nearly died. Thousands of people wrote how he had personally changed their lives. Many were converted or strengthened in their faith. Some remained in their faith but listened to him because of his incredible spiritual insights and practical wisdom.
He will not be forgotten and of his 40 plus books all still in print, I believe many will be read for centuries to come.