Sunday, July 25, 2004

Fr. Groeschel

The retreat this weekend was good.  I will blog later about it.   One of the highlights had to be this morning when we were just about to start eating breakfast, Fr. Groeschel comes walking down the hallway towards the dining room.  He was walking with a cane and had a bump on his head and a glove on one hand.  Other than that he looked pretty good.  Everyone got up and went to the door and started clapping.  This was the first teaching retreat weekend without him giving the opening talk.  After the clapping died down, he said, in a hoarse voice but with perfect timing:  "Living proof that only the good die young!!!!".  He then told us how one of the Friars was told in the hospital to make the funeral arrangements because they did not expect him to make it.  Someone said yesterday was Fr. Groeschel's birthday so we all sang happy birthday to him.  He said he came to Kellenberg for the Youth 2000 Mass (he was supposed to give the homily) and he just wanted to stop in and say hello to us.  He then did something I never saw him do before, he got a little choked up. 


Update:  The amazing thing about this weekend was that you had two totally different retreats going on at the same time and on the same high school grounds and everything seemed to go smoothly.  We had a lovely teaching retreat, with about 25 people, which is about half the normal size, perhaps due to Fr. Groeschel's absence this year.  The Youth 2000 New York had 600 young people and there was a giant tent set up on a field with the Blessed Sacrament exposed for adoration.  This Diocese is slowly on the way to repairing the damage of the past by hosting events such as these.  (See "McGann's Mess" by Dr. Thomas Droleskey for a very pessimistic view of things, I see things improving steadily).  As one priest said, who would have thought 20 years ago, that a traditional Latin Mass would be offered in the school's chapel, while outside hundreds of young people were adoring the Blessed Sacrament?  I got to eat at a dinner table with Msgr. William Smith and hear a bit of his wonderful humor.  Fr. Pereda, who celebrates the traditional Mass I sometimes attend, gave an interesting and inspiring talk on the Latin Mass.  I wasn't sure how he would come across and I think he was very impressive to the group.  He was intelligent, interesting, and very funny.   I had no idea he had such a great sense of humor since his personality is thankfully not on display while celebrating Mass.  He celebrated the traditional Mass in the school's very modern chapel, meaning that perhaps for the first time in years (?) there were two approved traditional Masses offered in this diocese on the same day.   I did not stick around long enough to hear the responses of the people to this Mass.  These are good faithful Catholics that attend these retreats but not necessarily traditionalists.  I would have liked to have heard some of the reactions, but I stupidly left right after the Mass. 

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