By Crossroads Publishing,
On Tuesday, May 13, beloved Pastor, valued Crossroad author and friend Father Robert J. Cormier died in a climbing accident on Mount Hood in Oregon. He had reached the summit. A priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., Robert J. Cormier was a preacher, teacher, theologian, and pilot. His recent book, Better Than We Believed, (www.BetterThanWeBelieved.com) was granted Honorable Mention in the prestigious Eric Hoffer Awards—an honor that was announced the same day that Fr. Cormier died. He is also the author of Why We Look Up, and A Faith That Makes Sense.
Gwendolin Herder, publisher of The Crossroad Publishing Company, has worked with Fr. Cormier for nearly 20 years. “Fr. Bob was passionate about God, a God who–he was convinced–did not want to hide behind formulas removed twice from peoples’ life experience today.”
“Everything Fr. Bob thought, said, wrote and did was in the service of the truth that all of us, every human person, already have what it takes to see the truth of faith for him or herself, that this truth makes ultimate sense, and that faith is the only thing that ever can fill our desires, and make us truly happy. Fr. Bob was always talking about this message, he was tireless in constantly adding to and refining his impressive written work. But he put people first. We often asked him to travel and speak to promote his books, but he’d say ‘I cannot go, I have to be in prison that day, I have a meeting at Project Live, I cannot leave my students without class this week, the parish needs me to offer Mass…'”
“Only recently did he have the time to reach out to more people via Facebook and his website www.thefaithkit.org. It is very significant that on the day of his death the prestigious Eric Hoffer Awards announced that Robert Cormier’s latest book Better Than We Believed, was granted Honorable Mention. He would have been thrilled.”
For seventeen years, “Father Bob” (as he liked to be called) led the Spanish-speaking community of Saint Rose of Lima in Newark, a city he served for twenty-five years. He had over twenty-five years’ experience in both grade and high-schools, and over twenty years as both a prison chaplain and a rehab counselor. For the past eighteen years he was president of Project Live–a leading institution for the care of the mentally ill. He spent fifteen summers as priest to the Mam, a Mayan tribe, in Western Guatemala.
Between 1989 and 1998, Father Bob was one of the three voices of The Radio Mass heard live throughout the Eastern seaboard. Most recently he was the spiritual director of the internet-based radio station Radio Inmaculada, on which he also had a weekly program.
Father Bob held a pontifical license in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a license in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained by St. John Paul II in 1982.
He served as a deacon in Thailand, visited some seventy other countries on six continents, and had some facility in eight modern languages.
Father Bob grew up in Cranford, New Jersey. His avocations included flying, sailing, cave exploration and scuba diving.
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