Father Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR, passed away on October 3rd at 11 PM.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may he rest in peace!
(Franciscan Friars of the Renewal) The Catholic Church and the Franciscan family lost a giant today. This moment is one that finds the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR) with mixed emotions, as we are deeply saddened by the loss of Fr. Benedict but also relieved that God has set him free from the physical and mental suffering he has experienced over the past decade.
The world knew Father Benedict as a priest, teacher, evangelist, retreat master, and a steadfast defender of and advocate for the Catholic Church that he loved so much. The members of his religious family saw all these things in him, too. But even more, we were also blessed to know him as a father who cared for each of us, a father who was always accessible when we needed him and always glad to see us when we came to visit.
The words of a fellow Franciscan, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, describing St. Francis, characterize Fr. Benedict well, “His intuition of a universal brotherhood, extending to every creature, accompanied by his choice of minority, turn him and his followers into the brothers of every person, the enemies of none, and the companions of the least ones.”
Fr. Benedict was a brother and a father to everyone he encountered. In a world often overwhelmed with darkness, he was a man filled with hope, a hope that he shared with both the rich and poor alike. His love for others and deep desire to serve, sent him among poor families who were in need of assistance, young people trying to find their way, bishops faced with challenging decisions, priests and religious in need of an encouraging word, and the stranger who was far from God. Fr. Benedict was at home in every circumstance and every encounter. “The providence of God,” he would say, “was the mystery of God reaching out at every moment and revealing his love and presence to us all.”
It is not an exaggeration to say that Fr. Benedict was selfless. Those who knew him well understood that it was simply his nature to be so. He poured himself out for others no matter what the cost—and sometimes the cost to him was very great. To have known him was to have been helped by him and even loved by him. Our CFR Family and everyone who knew him received an enormous amount from Fr. Benedict—probably more than we were ever able to give back. It was not simply his wealth of wisdom and knowledge from which many benefited. It was his profound faith and equally profound love, two gifts that he never failed to share generously.
Join with us in praying for the repose of the soul of Fr. Benedict, for his family and Community, and also in thanksgiving for the legacy of renewal within the Church and Franciscan family that Fr. Benedict championed.
FATHER BENEDICT J. GROESCHEL, DEVOTED RELIGIOUS AND PRIEST, DIES AT 81
Groeschel Moved Many With His Sincere Faith, Towering Intellect, Passionate Preaching, and Commitment to the Poor
Fr. Benedict was a founder of the Community of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR), a reform community started in 1987 by eight Capuchin Friars based in New York City. A priest and psychologist, he was director of Trinity Retreat House in Larchmont, New York, and also taught Pastoral Psychology for many years at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie. Fr. Benedict was a popular writer, preacher, retreat master, and evangelist on Catholic television. His greatest joy was serving the poor and underprivileged. Founder of St. Francis House and Good Counsel Homes, he also served as chaplain at Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry for 14 years. Always deeply concerned with the welfare of others, he tirelessly provided food, clothing, and assistance to people in need—people he always considered his friends.
Father Benedict is survived by his sister, Marjule Drury, several nieces and nephews, 115 CFR brothers and priests, and 31sisters who were inspired by his authentic witness to religious life and devotion to Jesus and His Church.
Wrote Fr. John Paul Ouellette, Community Servant, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Fr. Benedict. He was an example to us all. His fidelity and service to the Church and commitment to our Franciscan way of life will have a tremendous impact for generations to come.”
Details for the wake and funeral will be forth coming.