It all started January of my freshman year in Orlando. I was there for the FOCUS National Conference and Fr. Benedict Groeschel was one of the speakers. At the time, I had no idea who this man was or the affect he would have on my life. I honestly do not remember much of what he talked about, but I do remember that although he was hunched over and confined to a chair, he captured his listeners with his holy enthusiasm.
Quick history: Born in 1933, joined a Capuchin order in Detroit in 1951 (the same order as Venerable Solanus Casey, another post) and was ordained in 1954. In 1967 he founded The St. Francis House which is now directed by Joseph Campo who is also a producer at Grassroots Films (makers of The Human Experience). Already a mighty action packed life.
In 1987, Fr. Benedict Groeschel and seven other friars, received permission to leave their order and begin a reform. This St.-Teresa-of-Avila-move started an amazing reform for these friars, and religious orders in general (for a better, longer, and more complete history read A Drama of Reform). This move began both CFR orders which continue to yield incredible fruit for their communities.
No big, just chatting with JPII.
In 2004, Fr. Benedict was hit by a car while crossing a street and nearly died.
“They said I would never live. I lived. They said I would never think. I think. They said I would never walk. I walked. They said I would never dance, but I never danced anyway.”
So I’ve decided that 2012 will be my Year of Groeschel. I will read his books and then provide a 4th grade level book report for your enjoyment.
Here’s a great video celebrating Fr. Benedict’s 50th Anniversary of the Priesthood.