Tuesday evening, St. Anthony’s hosted Fr. Bob’s family’s celebration of his life. Most of Fr. Bob’s immediate family members were able to be here along with a few of his close friends, the staff and residents of St. Anthony’s, St. Anthony’s Board members and representatives of many of the nearly one dozen charities that Fr. Bob left final gifts to.
The celebration began with Mass co-celebrated by two dear friends of Fr. Bob, Fr. Al Slowiak and Fr. Larry Abler, OFM Cap. Both spoke of Fr. Bob’s generosity, care and concern for the poor, the joy he found in gathering and conversing with both men and women, and his commitment to serve and follow Jesus. Family members led the music, another dear friend of Fr. Bob served as lector.
At the end of Mass, Fr. Bob’s brother, Ray, introduced the members of Fr. Bob’s family, then called forth the representatives of the charities who benefited from Fr. Bob’s estate. Then Dave J. spoke of Fr. Bob’s role in the transition team here at St. Anthony’s and his continued involvement after his “retirement” when he became our senior priest in residence. Next, Jackie K. introduced the staff and residents who lived and worked here with Fr. Bob. Finally, Jackie K. and Terri, the Board President, shared with Fr. Bob’s family the plaque honoring Fr. Bob that will now hang outside the dining room. After Mass concluded, all the guests were invited up to the dining room for dinner, cake and social time – a gathering Fr. Bob would have enjoyed being part of.
Here at St. Anthony’s, we knew how blessed we were to have Fr. Bob as part of our community, and his presence is missed daily. The gathering made it clear Fr. Bob’s generosity extended well beyond these walls, and many others were blessed by his example and we suspect will also miss his presence.
For the generosity and commitment of a dear friend whom we miss, and for the memories of him we hold dear, we say Deo Gratias!