Father Groeschel

The January Carolina Catholic show features an interview with Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, given at the Evening of Sacred Arts held on December 3, 2010 at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Wilmington.

Fr. Groeschel's Bio

Father Groeschel, born July 23, 1933, is a Roman Catholic priest, retreat master, author, psychologist, activist and host of the television talk program Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel, which is broadcast on the Eternal Word Television Network. He is the director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York as well as associate director of Trinity Retreat and the executive director of The St. Francis House. He is professor of pastoral psychology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and an adjunct professor at the Institute for Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia. He is one of the founders of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

Born as Peter Groeschel in Jersey City, New Jersey, he entered the Capuchin Order in 1951. The following year, he was admitted to temporary profession of vows and given the name Benedict Joseph. He made his perpetual profession in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1959. He received a Masters Degree in Counseling from Iona College in 1964 and a Doctorate in Psychology from Columbia University in 1971.

In 1960, Fr. Groeschel became the chaplain for the Children’s Village, a Dobbs Ferry, New York-based facility for emotionally disturbed children. In 1965, he joined the staff of St. Joseph's Seminary and has taught classes at Fordham University, Iona College and Maryknoll Seminary. In 1967, he founded The St. Francis House in Brooklyn which provides a safe haven for young men looking for a new start in life. The results of his counseling, teaching ability and the manner in which he treated his subjects attracted the attention of many, including Terence Cardinal Cooke, then Archbishop of New York. In 1974 at the request of Cardinal Cooke, he founded the Trinity Retreat in Larchmont, New York, which provides spiritual direction and retreats for clergy. In 1984, New York's John Cardinal O’Connor appointed Fr. Groeschel to the position of promoter of the cause of Canonization of the Servant of God Terence Cardinal Cooke. In 1985, he co-founded with Christopher Bell the Good Counsel Homes for homeless pregnant women and children. In 1987, Fr. Groeschel and seven Capuchin colleagues left their order to begin the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with the mission of preaching reform and serving the poor. Since joining the Institute of Psychological Sciences in 2000, he has taught an annual intensive course focused on how to give practical assistance to people experiencing trauma, extreme stress, and sorrow - while at the same time integrating religious values with counseling and psychotherapy.

Fr. Groeschel is Chairman of The St. Francis House and the Good Counsel Homes. He is on the board of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida and is a member of the American Psychological Association. Other works of charity Fr. Groeschel is involved with are: the Padre Pio Shelter, St. Anthony Residence, St. Francis Youth Center and St. Benedict Joseph Medical Center in Honduras.

Fr. Groeschel has received wide public attention through his preaching engagements, writing and television appearances. He is the author of over 30 books and has recorded more than 100 audio and video series. He publishes articles in several Catholic magazines on a monthly basis. His most recent books include The Tears of God (2008), Questions and Answers About Your Journey to God (2007), The Virtue Driven Life (2006), Why Do We Believe? (2005) and There Are No Accidents: In All Things Trust in God (2004). His weekly television program, Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel, offers a mix of interviews, answering viewer questions, and discussing spiritual and social matters relating to the Roman Catholic faith.

Fr. Groeschel has also been a highly visible Roman Catholic activist, first in the civil rights movement. He publicly criticizes what he perceives as insulting depictions of the church in popular culture and the media. In September 1998, he led protests outside of an Off-Broadway theater in New York City against the production of Terrence McNally’s play Corpus Christi.In his 2002 book From Scandal to Hope, he accused The Boston Globe, The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle of showing anti-Catholic prejudice in their respective coverage of the sexual abuse scandal that disrupted the church. “Seldom in the history of journalism have I seen such virulent attacks on any institution that is supposed to receive fair treatment in the press,” he wrote.

In April 2005, he again questioned the anti-Catholic sentiments of the U.S. media by charging distorted coverage of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who had become Pope Benedict XVI. Fr. Groeschel noted the new pope had "been very badly abused by the American media," adding that the pontiff’s World War II biography was negatively distorted and incorrect reports of his personality were published.

On January 11, 2004, Fr. Groeschel was struck by an automobile while crossing a street in Orlando, Florida. He received a head injury and broken bones, and had no blood pressure, heartbeat or pulse for about 27 minutes. A few days later, the trauma triggered a near-fatal heart attack. While he was recovering from his injuries, he collaborated with John Bishop on the book There Are No Accidents: In All Things Trust in God, and he broadcast his first live program on EWTN on October 24, 2004. Although the accident left him with limited use of his right arm and difficulty in walking, he was back out preaching and giving retreats by the end of 2004 and he has continued to keep a full schedule. Many consider his recovery close to a miracle. As he told the New York Times nearly four years after his accident: “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.” Today he remains a well sought after teacher, counselor, preacher, retreat master, author and spiritual director.

Musical Accompaniment

St. Mark's Director of Music and Liturgy, Alex Hill, composed a song for the occasion.  He performed this for the event accompanied by Angela Daughtry and Heather Latham. 

          THE IMAGE OF GOD

[Verse 1: 2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18]
When a person turns to the Lord,
A veil is removed from their heart.
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

All of us, gazing with unveiled face
On the glory of the Lord who is Spirit,
Are transformed into that image, from glory into glory.

     [Refrain: Colossians 1:15, 19-20]
     He is the image of the unseen God
     The first born of all creation.
     In him all fullness was pleased to dwell
     Through him all is reconciled
     Making peace through the blood of his cross.

[Verse 2: 2 Corinthians 4:3 – 4]
Even though our gospel is veiled,
It is veiled for those who perish,
As the god of this age blinds the minds of unbelievers.

So that they may not see the light
Of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
Of Christ, who is the image of God.   [refrain]

[Verse 3: 2 Corinthians 4:5 – 6]
For we do not preach ourselves
But Jesus Christ as Lord,
And ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.

For God who said, "Let light shine from darkness,"
Has shone to bring to light the knowledge
Of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.   [refrain]

Musician Bios

Musicians Playing for Fr. GroeschelAlex E. Hill is a choral and orchestral conductor and a published liturgical composer.  Since January 2010 he has served as Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Mark Catholic Church in Wilmington .  For 22 years before that he resided in Central Pennsylvania.  Alex and his wife of 25 years, Andrea, have 6 children.

Angela Daughtry has been involved with liturgical music for over thirteen years and has been the Coordinator of Liturgy and Music at St. Therese Catholic Church since 2006.  She humbly considers herself a vocalist although she has had no formal training.  Angela studied the flute privately during her school years, and taught herself to play guitar at age 30.  She graduated from UNCW with a BA in Environmental Studies.  Being a wife and mother of three keeps her happily occupied when she is not singing.  Angela really appreciates and enjoys the Coastal Carolina lifestyle in contrast to her childhood in Minnesota.

Heather Latham is an ECU graduate, an accomplished cellist and vocalist, who has been a cantor at St. Mary's Catholic Church for several years. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children who are both serving in the military. Both Heather and her husband, David, give generously of their time despte their demanding careers, and together they have operated the St. Mary's Bookstore for the past five years.

Listen to the show

Show Notes

EWTN Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Web Site



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