Father Greg Staab, OMV died on March 1, 2018, after a long illness.
When I met him almost four years ago, his health was declining. But it struck me how much insight he has into Mary. He gave me the gift of Marian consecration. (You can read an account of his 2014 conference.)
That gift began a journey that always surprised me how deep the Virgin Mary’s love can be for me. I found that an entry about the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2015 remained very true for me. But there is much, much more. Sometimes, there is closeness between the Virgin Mary and me as if we have known each other forever. I sometimes joked that Mary and I treated each other as an old married couple (joking, teasing and enjoying each other’s company).
It all started with Father Greg.
During my visit to the Oblates, he was eating at my table. He was asked about his vocation. While he was recounting his journey, he said: “Bishop Sheen told us not to go to the American seminaries.”
“Wait a minute,” one of the visitors said. “Do you mean Fulton J. Sheen?”
There is only two degrees of separation between me and Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the Catholic evangelist of the 20th Century?! Wow.
When I arrived for my postulancy in August, I was touched by the love and care that the community showed toward Father Greg. That October, Father Greg began his hospitalizations. During the subsequent hospital visits, I was surprised at the number of people from various backgrounds who knew Father Greg. Some encountered him at the confessional, but mostly, it was his promotion of Marian consecration.
The last time I visited him was in August after the provincial assembly. He was asleep upon my arrival. A few minutes later, he woke up and looked at me. It felt awkward. How would I talk to someone who can no longer respond? I came to his bedside and thanked him for everything. I left.
I’ll end with a photo from Father Shawn Monahan, OMV, my novice master and a novice under Father Greg. There are stories of Father Greg always rushing in hearing confessions at St. Clement and the St. Francis Chapel. The fruit of his ministries will continue to blossom long after his death.
I bet he is enjoying his favorite food (a cheeseburger) with Jesus and Virgin Mary in heaven.
Thank you, Father Greg.