Fr. Groeschel, Hit
by Car, Still in Critical Condition:
Prayers for Recovery Come From Larchmont
by Cathy Hickey
(January 22, 2004) Neighbors and friends of all denominations
are storming heaven in prayer for the recovery of Friar
one of the founders of the Franciscans Friars of the Renewal
and a Larchmont mainstay for more than 25 years. On Sunday,
January 11, Fr. Benedict was struck by a car at the Orlando
Airport in Florida, and the 70 year-old priest has been hospitalized
in critical condition ever since. He had just arrived on
the way to lead a conference in Florida and was crossing
the street behind a parked bus,
when he was hit.
Fr. Benedict’s injuries are extensive. While still
on the critical list and heavily sedated, his condition
has improved sufficiently for doctors to operate on a
broken leg. The doctors are cautiously optimistic, according
to updates from the Franciscan Friar’s website that
also is showing clips from Fr. Benedict's talks.
While Fr. Benedict’s main address is Trinity Retreat,
right next to Red Bridge, (and his favorite counseling venue
is Manor Park), he spends a lot of time on the road leading
conferences and retreats for priests and lay people all over
the world. A regular on cable television, he is known for
being holy, funny and extremely down to earth. People are
always coming up to him in airports; they think they know
him and consider him a friend, he has said.
He is also a fixture in the South Bronx, where the Community
of Franciscan Friars is based. As well as fielding calls
from around the world, Trinity Retreat has been besieged
by calls from families in the South Bronx who have been his
friends for three generations. “Please God don’t
take him. We love and need his guidance so much,” is
a constant prayer.
For more than 25 years, parishioners at Sts John and Paul
Church, St. Augustine’s,
Holy Trinity in Mamaroneck, and friends from all over Westchester have assisted
Fr. Benedict by providing Christmas presents for children from poor families
who would otherwise go without. The Food Bank of Sts. John and Paul
also supplies hundreds of turkeys at Thanksgiving and food baskets at Christmas
and Easter for his families.
Other families, many from the French American School and
local churches, help Fr. Benedict with monthly meals for
the men at the shelter run by the friars. According to Fr.
Benedict, the facility is known as the “Hilton of the
Shelters” because of the high quality of the meals.
“You wouldn’t believe how much e-mail we are
receiving!” said Fr. Glenn Sudano, the superior of
the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The virtual outpouring
of affection…my God. The power of one holy life! “
Cathy Hickey has lived
in Larchmont for over 40 years.
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