Posted by Amber Fogarty on Monday, July 16, 2012
Fr. Bob was best known for his "Good Stop" Homily, where he shared that Mass is a Good Stop. Fr. Bob's Dad used to use the phrase "Good Stop" during their travels, and the words always stayed with Fr. Bob. During his 63 years of priesthood, he made Mass a good stop for many Catholics with his powerful homilies and friendly smile that lit up every church he entered. To know Fr. Bob was to love him. You simply couldn't be in his presence without smiling.
A number of years ago I was responsible for coordinating the 100th Anniversary Gala for the University Catholic Center, the ministry that serves Catholic students, faculty, and staff at The University of Texas at Austin. As part of that event, we honored Fr. Bob with a Lifetime Achievement Award and created The Good Stop Endowment in his honor. Throughout the planning process, I was moved by his humility. At one point, he even told me he didn't understand why so many people wanted to honor him. I remember telling him that his legacy was deeper than he could ever imagine, that he had touched more lives than he realized. To this, he replied with a sheepish smile, "Who knew the Good Stop would do so much?" He then told me that none of this was really about him; it was about bringing people closer to God. Clearly, that was his life's work, and that will be his lasting legacy. He transformed hearts, and he walked with people, young and old, on their journey of faith.
One of the most interesting things about Fr. Bob was that he was the Chaplain for the Marshall University football team the year that the team's plane crashed in 1970, killing 75 people. Fr. Bob was invited to travel with the team on that fateful day, but had to remain at his parish. The week before the crash, Fr. Bob had traveled with the team to their game in Chicago. You can read an interview with Fr. Bob about his experience at Marshall here.
Fr. Bob, you made the Earth a Good Stop for 91 Years. Now you are welcomed with open arms into Heaven, your eternal Good Stop! Know that you are loved beyond measure and your legacy will last forever.