The Valley Catholic August 20, 2019 - Page 11 | August 20, 2019 COMMUNITY 11 Bishop Christian Dies; Recalled As ‘Wonderful’ Bishop, ‘Spiritual Guide’ OAKLAND (CNS) -- San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian, rector-president of Saint Patrick Semi- nary and University in Menlo Park, died in his sleep July 11. He was 70. He was ordained a bishop June 5, 2018, and was appointed to lead the seminary in January. “Please join me and remember in your prayers the repose of the soul of the Most Rev. Robert Christian. ... May he rest in peace!” Oakland Bishop Mi- chael C. Barber wrote in an email the afternoon of July 11. A native of San Francisco, Bishop Christian was a Dominican priest and belonged to the order’s Western prov- ince, the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which has its headquar- ters in Oakland. “I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Bishop Christian,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said. “The archdiocese was greatly blessed to have his wisdom and leadership even if for so brief a time as auxiliary bishop and even briefer time as rector of the seminary.” “We join with the Dominican com- munity in praying for the repose of his soul and for peace and comfort for his wonderful family in their time of mourning,” he added. Jesuit Father John Piderit, who is Moderator of the Curia and Vicar for Administration of the San Fran- cisco Archdiocese, said in announcing Bishop Christian’s death July 11 that he “was discovered this morning in his bed at Saint Patrick Seminary; he probably died during the night.” “This is a great loss for the Domini- cans, the seminary, the archdiocese and for all who count Bishop Chris- tian as a special friend. I request your prayers for Bishop Christian, that he be accepted with love and rejoicing in heaven,” Father Piderit said. “He was a wonderful priest, bishop, teacher, administrator and spiritual guide.” Robert Francis Christian was born in San Francisco Dec. 2, 1948, attended Saint Brendan and Saint Vincent de Paul grammar schools and Saint Igna- tius High School. In 1970, after graduating from Jesuit- run Santa Clara University, he entered the Dominican order at Saint Albert Priory in Oakland and made his sol- emn profession as a Dominican in 1974. He was ordained a priest in Oakland June 4, 1976. In 1977, he started his teaching career at Dominican College in San Rafael. He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Oakland in 1977. He went to Rome in 1979 for studies at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, known as the Angelicum, where he earned a Licenti- ate of Sacred Theology followed by a Doctorate in Sacred Theology. Upon completion of his doctorate, he ministered at the Newman centers at the University of California in River- side and the University of Washington Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Christian of San Francisco is pictured in this undated photo. He died in his sleep July 11 at his residence at Saint Patrick Seminary and University in Menlo Park, Calif., where he was rector- president. He was 70. (CNS photo/Arch- diocese of San Francisco) in Seattle. In 1985, he was assigned to the fac- ulty at the Angelicum. Except for the years 1997-1999, when he was Vicar Provincial of the Dominicans’ West- ern province, Bishop Christian taught theology, ministered to the Dominican community in Rome, held administra- tive offices at the Angelicum, and of- fered occasional assistance to various Vatican bureaus, until 2014. Prior to becoming bishop he was the student master at Saint Albert Priory in Oakland. Other appointments include “peri- tus,” or expert, at the 1990 Synod of Bishops on priestly formation, prior of the 75-member resident community of friars at the Angelicum, member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Inter- national Commission, and since 2013, consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Bishop Christian chose as his epis- copal motto “Sanctificetur nomen tuum” (“Hallowed be thy name”). “It lets people know that I’ll con- tinue to preach the name of Jesus, who teaches me to be grateful for all that I have, including a good family, many friends, an education, my Dominican life, and travels all over the world,” he said. “God is the giver of all good gifts and has given me the opportunity to be something of a gift to others.” The Dominicans’ Western province said in a statement: “Bishop Christian has tirelessly served the church and faithful for nearly 50 years. We are deeply saddened to hear of his death and entrust his soul to the loving arms of our heavenly Father. We ask for your prayers for the repose of his soul, as well as for his grieving family, friends and Dominican brothers around the world.” Saint Albert’s Priory in Oakland of- fered an evening requiem Mass for the repose of his soul July 11. Statement from Bishop Oscar Cantú The Diocese of San José is shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of the Most Rev. Robert Chris- tian, OP. We ask the Lord for the repose of his soul and send our prayers to the faithful in the Archdiocese of San Francisco at this difficult time. May he rest in peace. Catholic Cemeteries… As a Community We Grieve, Let God Heal By Laura Schemmel, Outreach “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you.” -2 Kings 20:5 It was Sunday night, the end of a warm summer day. Activities were winding down after a weekend of festivities. The band was playing its last set. The vendors were pausing for a moment to breathe before packing everything up. The children were smil- ing and laughing as adults relished in the moment of escape. On Monday, there was a makeshift memorial for the Gilroy Garlic Festival, #Gilroy STRONG. Lives were forever altered after a gunman opened fire. There were 16 people shot, including 3 young people who died, and thousands of lives throughout the community were joined by a tragedy. This tragedy has touched the hearts of us all in the Bay Area and beyond. Senseless harm invoked by one indi- vidual will deeply change the lives of so many for years to come. This com- munity of people, different races and religions, bands together through the same value on human life. It is at the core of our humanity that we show compassion and offer hope. The first responders, along with many indi- viduals’ quick response in the face of danger, saved the lives of many others. As Christians, we strive to rely on our faith that God will heal us. Faith is a gift from God. (Romans12:3) God changes us, molds us, strengthens us, and builds us through hardship. And there is nothing like the experience of being comforted by God alone in that dark hour. God chose to walk among us and share healing love. God also places people to walk with us on our path. We post our thanks and prayers on Facebook. We read the details in the newspaper or hear it on the television. We share with our friends, family and co-workers. We give financially. We attempt to grieve as one. Catholic Cemeteries walks with the community in this time of tragedy. We ask to receive God’s grace and spirit of peace that surpasses all understanding. There are many grief support groups available that can be places of comfort and understanding we do not walk alone on this journey and that journey is different for each one of us. For more information, call (650) 549-6056 . Parish Bereavement Ministers’ Training FALL 2019 - Bridging the Gap with Hispanic Communities* Six Thursday evenings: September 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24; 7-9 p.m. One make-up session on November 7. Queen of Apostles – Geary Hall, 4911 Mo or pa rk. Ave., Sa n Jos é. Facilitator: Candee Lucas, Kathy Fanger – Outreach Team. Cost: $100. per person (fee returned upon completion of all six sessions (or make up session). This in- depth training and enrichment series is for parish staff, clergy and volunteers. Two or more individuals from your parish are encouraged to attend. RSVP by September 14, call (650) 428-3730 or email *Course materials provided in English and Spanish. SOLACE – Soul + Grief Monthly Drop-in Grief Support Group August 28, 7-9 p.m. (4th Wednesday of each month) at O’Connor Hospital Chapel, 2105 Forest Ave., San José. Facilitator: Candee Lucas, M.A. Pastoral Ministries. No RSVP necessary. Free. Sponsored by Catholic Cemeteries and O’Connor Hospital.