UPDATE: Read our tribute to Fr. Greg on our website.
We mourn the passing of Msgr. Gregory Schaffer, or “Padre Gregorio” as he was otherwise known, and we also celebrate the gift he was for us.
“We thank God for our loving friend and pastor Father Greg Schaffer,” said CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen in an email.
“Father Greg believed in CFCA from the very beginning. Not surprising ó he had known each of the founders long before CFCA was officially born. … I hold up the beautiful working relationship of CFCA with the parish of San Lucas Toliman as an example of love and respect for our church.”
Father Greg served for many years on the CFCA board and had a longtime ministry in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, where CFCAís Hermano Pedro and Atitlan projects are located.
He has lived and served in Guatemala since 1964.
Scott Wasserman, chair of the CFCA governing board, said Father Greg helped remind the board that sponsorship was far more than traditional charity.
It was about forming authentic relationships with families living in poverty, he said.
“When the board became caught up in budgets and policies, Father Greg drew us back to the lives of real people struggling heroically against tremendous odds,” he said. “His theology and work were one and the same.”
Our CEO, Paco Wertin, had this to say in a message to Father Greg before he passed away:
Dear Greg, our brother and friend, we accompany you in Spirit with deep love in these difficult days for you.
We are filled with gratitude and joy for the gift you are to us. We particularly appreciate the way you live out the unconditional love of God.
You have learned how to be present to and serve those who surround you, no matter where. You have taught us to search out and look for the presence of God, to reflect on our reality in the light of God’s Word and then to get to work.
I love the way you could sit and relax. I love the way you would get out and walk and read and think, mulling things over, then bringing them to others to provoke conversation. And thank you for all the stories.
Our world is better and there is hope because you walk with us. Peace, Greg, and healing, deep down and all along the way.
~Paco Wertin, and the CFCA community of compassion and service that you have mentored for all these years.