In Memoriam Father Rene

From the Desk of Father Al Esposito

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

With deep sadness, our Diocesan Family mourns the loss of Father Rene Robert, whose body was found on Monday in Georgia. Father Rene died on Sunday, April 10th, the day of his disappearance. While we mourn his tragic death, we also remember how he responded to God by living selflessly for others -- a life known for putting faith into action through the Corporal and Spiritual Acts of Mercy. Humbly and generously, Father Rene shared his gifts and talents with the community of the deaf and, more recently, with those whose way of life led them to jail or prison.

Father Rene’s life was imbued with the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi. Walking in the footsteps of Francis, Rene is remembered for his selfless love of others, especially the marginalized, reminding us that Jesus created humanity in the image and likeness of God for a good and noble purpose.  In addition to his love for people, Rene also had a profound respect for the environment and was always reminding his brother priests about the importance of recycling. I have vivid memories of his remaining in the dining room after special meals, carefully sifting through the debris checking for recyclable items!

During the years before I entered the seminary, Father Rene and I were part of a small prayer group in Saint Augustine. I was entrusted with playing the keyboard for the Liturgy of the Hours. Rene used to joke about how meticulous I was about the chanting of the psalms. From that moment on, whenever he greeted me, he would say, “Hello, Reverend Novice Master!,” harkening back to his days as a Franciscan novice. I will miss this joyful greeting. I am confident that Rene is now chanting the praises of God in the heavenly choir, and I look forward to hearing his cheerful “hello” in the halls of heaven.

In this Year of Mercy, let us pray that our Lord Jesus will bring to completion the good works that Father Rene began by converting the troubled soul of the man who took his life. I can think of no better way to end this message than by quoting these comforting words from the Canticle of Brother Sun by Saint Francis of Assisi, knowing that Rene is now praising God through Sister Bodily Death into the Glory of Eternal Life.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.


Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

AMEN!

Peace and Joy in the Risen Christ,

 

Father Al Esposito

Pastor Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church

 
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