If you were not able to be among the over 500 in attendance I wanted to share with you a few remarks that were shared by friends and family. With dozens of clergy present and the Mass led by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, I dare say there was no one who was unmoved by the recollections about Bob and his life of service.
One priest colleague shared a story about a Sunday afternoon after mass when Bob was finishing up for the day and received a knock on the Parish House door from a young man asking to see a copy of his baptism records. When Bob returned with the book, the man put a gun to Bob’s head and demanded that he turn over the day’s collection.
Bob reported that at this point he was quite nervous because the man’s hand was shaking so badly that he seemed to be even more nervous than Bob was. The young man then told Bob to open the safe and Bob responded “I hope I remember the combination”. He did.
Another story was shared by his brother recalling a time when Bob was 2 hours late for their mother’sintended to be rare roast beef dinner. Undoubtedly expressing his regrets, Bob also explained that he had two families — his biological family and his parish family — and that he loved them both equally and he would be with the family that needed him most. Bob’s brother went on to report that Bob never missed an important family occasion … Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, — and was always able to officiate.
It was also echoed by a number who shared that despite his gentle and non-judgemental nature, when it came to issues of justice and what was right, Bob could not be moved. He knew what the Lord was asking of him and he would never waver.
I expect that Carla De Solis, his wonderful right hand assistant and church administrator par excellence, who worked with Bob for many years, and left us just this past year, has been preparing Bob’s desk for him in heaven. May they both rest in the peace of the Lord, bathed in the blessings and gratitude of all of those who love them.
Here is a link to the announcement in the New York Times where some have written their tributes in the online guest book
Blessings to all.
Marc L. Greenberg, Executive Director