Saturday, September 17, 2011
Priests Retreat with Father Benedict Groeschel
Monday to Thursday this week I participated in the Marquette diocesan priests' retreat at Marygrove Retreat Center. The food is excellent! And so were the conferences given by Father Groeschel, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
Father is clearly ageing - he miraculously survived a serious car accident some years ago - but is full of practical wisdom. Death was mentioned in probably every one of his conferences which dealt with the topics of Faith, Hope, Trust and Charity in the life of a priest. He spoke about Purgatory (pronounced in his Jersey City accent as Poygatoyry - "if you want to know what Poygatoyry is like, go to Joysy City" he quipped) and said that he expects to spend a long time there and looks forward to meeting us there too! There's a thought - we are all likely to need Purgatory.
Father also spoke clearly on some of the madness that has occurred in the Church in recent years, particularly the catastrophe of the Blessed Sacrament having been removed in so many churches and chapels to side rooms or concealed spaces where It is hidden from view.
Another "small world" eperience occurred as Father Fidelis - Father Benedict's "carer" pictured above - and I remembered one another from when he was superior of the CFR community in London. He remembers also my brother, Father Stephen, and my sister Susan who was and is very much involved in the pro-life movement in London.