Society Magazine

The Chaplain They Know

Posted on the 05 April 2013 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

Yesterday I put up a post detailing an attempt to oust Father Greg Shaffer as George Washington University's chaplain

Today, by way of Deacon Greg, I've found a website dedicated to defending him.  Excerpts of just a few posts follow:

Fr. Greg is one of the holiest, kindest, most devoted priests I have had the privilege to meet.  He is a constant example to me on how to live out the Catholic Priesthood with joy! He deeply cares for each one of his students and like our Lord lays down his life everyday for them.


This is a man who, from the start, built trust and a genuine senseof being cared for as few people can FrGregdo. I brought all my anger and sadnessto him, and he took it all in, and gave me Christ. He admonished me for mysins that contributed to the situation, and taught me to forgive those ofothers; I grew so much that Summer and Fall because of this one man’s loveand understanding. I have never met a priest who cares as much aboutenkindling the faith in others, or created as genuinely spiritual anddeeply moving an environment as the newman center itself or the many socialand faith-building events he has led. He pours himself out for others insuch self-sacrificing love that I wish more husbands and wives showed eachother.

Because of him, I was able to leave for Basic Training with a peace I’d
never felt before, a clear sense of purpose, and a stronger relationship
with my girlfriend than ever. When we got married in 2012, he came all the
way down to Georgia to celebrate at our wedding. That day, and both of our
lives, would have been very different without him. Through him, I have
experienced the love of an older brother, and that of Jesus Christ. Beyond
all the superlatives – and he is easy to write about in such terms -, Fr
Greg is the model of one who knows what the Lord requires of him; only to
do the right, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with God.


This past winter has been particularly spiritually rough, especially on the morning of December 14th when my hometown experienced such an atrocity, I lost sight of God. There were moments where I didn’t know if my brother and my mother were safe. There were moments where I felt my spirit break when neighbors my family knew received the news that their children wouldn’t be coming home from school that day. With heightened confusion and sorrow, I ran to the first place I could think of, and that was the Chapel at the Newman Center. I ran into Father Greg, and when I told him the news, the first thing he offered was to offer a mass to the families who had lost children. He offered without question and without self-gain or self-satisfying heroism. This was just the beginning of his compassionate attitude toward the event. Later the next evening, he called me specifically to ask me how my family and I were doing, and additionally how members of the community were reconciling faith and tragedy. I sat and thought – ideas about the “community of life” and the notions that healing has to come from love and forgiveness will follow rushed out. I didn’t know I could express my ideas of faith that freely, and Father Greg’s encouraging words afterwards made me feel that for once I was speaking what I truly believed. Not only that, but I was applying the ideas of love that he himself has taught to our community, whether in sermon or just as the passing ideas of a thoughtful conversation. He is encouraging and he does think openly about what we students say to him. We are not just spiritual wards to him but spiritual gardens he loves to watch blossom.


2 years ago I was a person I didn’t want to be. I got drunk too often, hooked up with too many random guys, and stopped caring about school. Looking back, I really had no direction. I was lost and wandering. I had gone to the Newman Center a few times but stopped going because my friends weren’t very interested. I had gone too church most Sunday mornings, but that stopped when I preferred to nurse a hangover rather than spend an hour at St. Stephen’s. This all changed a little over a year ago when a friend badgered me into coming to the Newman Center with her for Tuesday night dinners. She was like me, a little lost but trying to get back on track. For her, faith was the way to do it. I realized how unhappy I had been and I thought that maybe I should take a stab at being a better Catholic. With her urging I started talking to Father Greg weekly and finally getting to know him. I went to confession for the first time in four years. And as awkward as it was (trust me, confession is never not awkward), Father Greg never judged me. Instead we talked about the motives behind my actions, my feelings, and if I was fulfilled. I wasn’t.

I talked to Father Greg more and more. Texted him at 2 am and cried in front of him more than I have ever cried in front of everyone. And all of this happened because of how comfortable I feel with him. He has become my anchor and I could not imagine my college experience without him.

There's much more at the site.

Read as much of it as you can, particularly when you know that those who are voicing their opinions to oust him won't let these testimonies get in the way of their quest.

A quest that is, in my less than constrained opinion, a travesty of the highest order.

Pass this on.

Father Greg sounds like the kind of priest any faithful person would want to have at their side.

And frankly, the kind of priest the principalities, the powers,  the rulers of this present darkness will do their utmost to hate and upend.

Think on that.

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