Our Founders

Good Counsel was founded in 1985 by Christopher Bell and Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR to help homeless, pregnant women in dire need.

About Good Counsel’s Founders

Christopher Bell received the inspiration to create Good Counsel while working and living at Covenant House in Times Square, a ministry for homeless youth. Joining the Covenant House Community in 1979, where members prayed three hours a day and worked full-time for $10 a week, Christopher Bell encountered the dire need for homeless pregnant women. He turned to his spiritual advisor, Father Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan priest and psychologist, asking, “Why someone isn’t doing something about this?” Fr. Groeschel said he would help him. Together they founded what would be called Good Counsel, which started in a former convent in Hoboken, NJ on March 10, 1985.

Christopher Bell

Christopher Bell is the husband of the former Joan Andrews and a father of seven children, six of whom are adopted. He’s spoken extensively about this ministry to the media, to business groups, at churches and abroad. Christopher Bell studied Scripture in Rome and has a post-master’s degree in family counseling, from Iona College, an MA in Religious Education and Counseling from St. Joseph’s Seminary, and a B.S. from the University of Bridgeport in Journalism-Communications and International Relations.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR

Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, was a Roman Catholic priest, a retreat master, author of more than 30 books on spirituality, and a psychologist. He passed away on October 3, 2014 which was the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Father Benedict greatly admired St. Francis and tried to emulate him as he helped form the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal during the late 1980’s. Father Benedict is best known for his work on the Eternal Word Television Network. His last program was hosting, “Sunday Night Live with Father Benedict Groeschel.”

He was also the founder and director of the Office for Spiritual Development for the Archdiocese of New York as well as founder and director of Trinity Retreat. Additionally, he founded a home for young men, St. Francis House, which continues to this day. He was a Professor of Pastoral Psychology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York and an adjunct professor at the Institute for Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia.

Father Benedict served as Good Counsel’s Chairman of the Board of Directors from its founding until his death.

Our Board

Mark Swartzberg, Chairman
Rev. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, Chairman 1985 – 2014
James McKenna, Board Treasurer
Patricia Donahoe
Sean Flanagan
Rev. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR
Sr. Clare Matthias, CFR
Thomas Kolenberg, KM
Thomas Slanover, Board Secretary
J. Anthony SanFilippo, MD
Jo-Ann Venezia
Vincent Stempel, Jr., Esq.
Dion Zappe, PhD
Christopher Torkelson, Attorney-of-Counsel

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