To celebrate my birthday this weekend, my husband took us up to Connecticut to go house-hunting. Wanting to capitalize on the fact that it was a Sunday, I suggested we leave home early to make 10AM Mass at St. Mary the Immaculate Church nestled between St. Joseph's School and The Academy of the Holy Family. We were 15 minutes late getting out of the house, but it was God's perfect timing. I awoke from a nap in Bridgeport, and suggested a rest stop.
Just as we emerged from the building, Francisco excitedly pointed to a familiar figure making his way into McDonald's. "Look", he exclaimed, "it's Fr. Benedict Groeschel!" And so it was.
My girls scurried into the car, shy to meet such a famous man, but I was so thrilled to have an opportunity to speak with one of my favorite authors and TV personalities, that I summoned up my courage, and greeted Father by opening the door for him.
Fr. Groeschel was made very feeble by his terrible accident a few years back, and gratefully accepted my help as I told him how much I appreciated his work. I've read nearly all of his books, own many of his CDs and regularly watch his TV shows.
A young woman who didn't know who Father is, came forward to ask for his prayers, and I told her how to access his Sunday Night Live Program on the computer, if she wanted to speak with Father. I shared that we were considering a move to send the girls to Catholic school with the Sisters of Charity of Mary, Mother of the Church in Baltic, and wanted to live near his friends the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Griswold, CT. Father recognized both these fine religious orders.
Soon we were greeted by Fr. Terry, Father's traveling companion, who remembered me as the lady from Long Island "with a lovely teenage daughter who takes very good care of her little sister". I shared this story from the time we met Fr. Terry at Youth 2000 on Long Island last summer, and he told me he would be missing the event this summer, as he was heading to Australia for World Youth Day.
Fr. Terry went over to greet my family in the van, while I told Fr. Groeschel of the book Monica and I have been working on, "Be Not Afraid: The Vocation to Special Motherhood". He and Fr. Terry gave us their blessing, and we said goodbye. This is the third time I've been so fortunate to meet Fr. Groeschel, he has always been so patient and kind to speak with me.
I wish I had photos to share, but the camera stayed behind in the car with the girls, and I was too excited to remember it.
What a wonderful birthday gift this was!