Skip to comments.UPDATED INFORMATION: Father Benedict Groeschel
Posted on 01/14/2004 12:46:11 PM PST by NYer
Father Glenn Sudano, speaking on behalf of a friary in New York, has issued an extensive report on the injuries suffered by nationally-known priest Father Benedict Groeschel Sunday night while he was near the Orlando International Airport [see previous story]:
"The Lord give you peace. On behalf of Fr. Benedict and all the friars & sisters of the Renewal, I want to express to you our thanks for your concern and support during these most difficult days. Since Father's accident so many have contacted us hoping to hear some news. I am sorry the notice, critical but stable" and "no calls!" was a bit blunt and brief. However, as you might imagine, at times of extreme crisis orders and the like are to the point. Forgive me if it was too short and sharp. We honestly haven't had the time and opportunity to get something of some substance on the website. I am writing this notice Tuesday, January 13.
About Fr. Benedict's condition. Things are somewhat the same; "critical, but stable." In some ways, this is positive. Meaning, he's not declining. God willing, the "critical" status will subside and "stability" will extend into general health. Fr. Benedict has a long road ahead of him, please God, and there are many people like yourselves who are willing to walk at his side. Promise me you will support him with your prayers!
Fr. John Lynch, a priest friend from the Archdiocese of New York, Joe Campo, friend and director of the New York Youth 2000 office, and I spent some time with Fr. Benedict in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. He is highly sedated and is getting some assistance with his breathing, yet, at times he does respond to stimulus. As you know people in such a state can often hear and comprehend much more than they appear. So I took the opportunity to extend your love and support. I told him that so many throughout the States and around the world were praying for him. I told him how much we love him and are looking forward to him getting better.
To clarify some of the details about the accident, I will tell you as much as I know at this time. Fr. Benedict had just completed a preaching engagement and was at the airport with his traveling companions, Fr. John Lynch and David Burns. Evidently, they were at an airport car rental. Fr. Benedict knew his two companions hadn't eaten, and knowing the long lines meant a long wait, he went outside to find a place to buy a hamburger or something. This is where the facts are fuzzy. At some time and for some reason, he was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Perhaps it was dark, who knows, but this is all I know at this point.
Fr. Benedict was struck on his right side. The impact broke his right arm and leg in two places. He also received some injury to the head. Thank God, the ambulance arrived soon after and was brought to a nearby hospital which, thank God, has an expert trauma unit. This is where he is today and will slowly recover through your prayers.
I had the opportunity to speak to his attending physician who represents a small team of trauma specialists. At this time all his vital signs are "good." His arm and leg still needs to be operated on, but it's still too soon. They have to be very careful not to upset whatever "balance" he has at this point. The bleeding on the brain is not serious and his blood pressure okay -- at least right now. Last night they had to open him to see if there was any damage to his inside organs. Thank God, no problems there. There appeared to be an increase in acid accumulating in his system, yet it appears to be naturally lowering.
However, this is the doctor's concern. Fr. Benedict is 70 years old and has had other medical problems (bad heart). He said, "Anything can happen -- pneumonia, infection, heart failure." He was quite clear, "he's far from being out of the woods." The doctor surmised that he could remain in this same condition for some weeks, but of course, there are too many variables.
At the end of my many questions, I said, "Doctor, I don't know if you're a man of faith. But there are many people praying for Fr. Benedict - and for you!" I saw he was very moved, and he said, "Thank you, we both need them."
The night the accident happened, I was in California with the friars of Saint Felix Friary, we had just finished a youth weekend. Fr. Conrad called while we were enjoying our evening meal. The rest of the evening was full of fear. I went to bed with portable phone in hand both awaiting and dreading the next call from Florida. I wept more than I slept. My only prayer was a plea, "O Mother of God, help him!" The next morning I was off to Florida with bloodshot eyes and a heavy heart.
On the plane my mind kept going down a dark road. I couldn't help but think of the worst -- my prayer continued to be a plea. I almost believed that God was preparing me (and you) for the worst. I knew that things might turn out for the best, but I thought my asking for the best would be in some way less than acceptable to God. As if I was refusing to face the cross - I thought of Our Lord in the Garden. But in time, I begin to think, "praying for healing isn't a sin or a lack of trust -- but an expression of the virtue of HOPE".
So, my friends, join me in hoping -- hoping that Fr. Benedict will indeed get through this. As many saints went through their trials, he is going through his. He will have a long via dolorosa ahead of him. Please, let us not be the weeping women of Jerusalem, but help him like Simon and Veronica. Let us not stand by and weep, but help him by our prayers. He has helped us, now it's our turn to help him.
I must once again ask you, please do not attempt to call any hospital or friary. I will do my best to keep you posted on this Web site. Please advise others to do the same. Please refrain from sending flowers and gifts. God willing, I will have to make arrangements for some friars to be at Father's side. Hopefully, there will be many flights from New York, of course we may need some help in this regard but let us see how things emerge in the next few days and weeks. If I have to send out an "SOS" for traveling expenses, I'll let you know!
So, the rosary, the chaplet of the Divine mercy, adoration, fasting - Behold! Here is our medicine! Jesus - Behold! Our Divine Physician! As Saint Pio would tell us - "Pray, hope, and don't worry!"
Saint Padre Pio, pray for him! Blessed Mother Teresa, pray for him! Servant of God, Terrence Cardinal Cooke, pray for him! Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, pray for him! Holy Father Saint Francis, pray for him!
Let us pray:
"O Mother of Divine Mercy, look with compassion on your son and servant, Father Benedict. Extend your hands of healing upon him. Invoke the all powerful name of Jesus! Invoke your Spouse, the Life-giving and Holy Spirit to descend like a sweet and gentle dew upon your faithful servant. Drive away every illness! Draw down healing from on high! Like your son, and in His name, call him forth out of the darkness and the edge of death and say -- "Come out!"
Yes, Mother, we choose to hope and pray. May the will of the Father be accomplished for His glory and the good of your servant. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Fr. Glenn Sudano, C.F.R. Community Servant (superior)
iscan Friars of the Renewal
Almost all of the manusripts of St. Francis of Assisi that contain this simple prayer indicate its origin at the foot of the crucifix in the Chuch of San Damiano. It clearly reflects the struggle of the early years of the saint's life as well as his ever-present desire to fulfill the will of God. Thus it is a prayer that can be seen as characterizing the Poverello's entire life
Thank you all for your prayers! God bless you all.