Subject: Special Edition: Remembering Fr. Benedict Groeschel. A Personal Story.

“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matt. 22: 1-14 (MORE)

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Remembering Fr. Benedict Groeschel...
Funeral Mass of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, live right now on EWTN. A wonderfully human, authentic, real, holy soul who has impacted a multitude.

Prior to my current place in life as a husband and father of seven, I spent a number of years discerning the priesthood. Back in the early 90’s, at the age of 22, I was leading a North American evangelization outreach based at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Fr. Benedict Groeschel encouraged me to spend a more dedicated season of discernment "away from the bells and whistles" of ministry; he invited me to join him at Trinity Retreat in Larchmont, NY.

So, I gave away most of my possessions. Housemates Dr. Ted Sri and Dr. Tim Gray commented that my clothes were "walking all over campus."

Upon arriving at Trinity Retreat, Fr. Benedict asked me to drive him into New York City where he was giving a talk. How would you drive someone having the reputation of a holy, Gandalf-like sagacity, beard and habit included? I thought I’d keep everything within limit. I guessed wrong. I noticed he was fidgety, and could not figure out why. In his distinctive, Jersey accent, he exhorted me: “Gregory… if you’re going to get us there, you’ve gotta put the pedal to the metal.”

I dusted off a corner of my fast-driving adolescence and kicked it in, weaving in and out of crazy, NYC traffic. I resisted the temptation to turn on a classic rock station, crank it up at full blast. Wouldn’t you know it, I could tell his tension was gone. Within moments his seat was back and he was fast asleep! That was just one of many wonderful, human stories I could tell about that year.

You know, that etched in my experience an important message about our church. In so many words (with all due respect for the law -- certainly orthodoxy): "Quit playing it safe. Quit just moving along with the crowd. We have a destination. We know what we're about. Don't' be distracted. Don't delay. Get in it and get to it, without reserve, without compromise. Find your peace there."

I was truly blessed by my time with Fr. Benedict. We had frequent conversations over meals, walks, and driving him to his frequent speaking engagements and retreats. I am one of the many whose lives are forever different as a result of his great, fatherly wisdom, care and love.

May his soul, and those of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace...

Abundant blessings in Jesus through Mary.

Greg and Stephanie Schlueter
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