By Fr. Sean Prince
Dear IC parish community,
It is with a heavy heart and immense sadness that I write to you this afternoon. Fr. Bob French, our beloved, retired pastor, died this morning while vacationing on a cruise through Europe with his priest friend Fr. Dan Klem. A native of this region of our Diocese, Bob was ordained in 1963 and dedicated his life to serving the Church and our Diocese. As many of you know, he spent his last fourteen years of active ministry as the pastor of Immaculate Conception until his retirement. But even in retirement, Bob maintained a presence in our community, assisting with Daily Mass, weekend liturgies, and funerals. He loved this community and its work as church. He will be missed by so many.
On a personal note, what I cherished about Bob was his wisdom of 53 years of priesthood and his willingness to offer me advice--even when I did not ask for it! That was Bob. He helped to guide me as a new pastor and warmly welcomed me to this community. I will miss his presence, our conversations, and too, our continuous banter with one another. I loved to get him laughing, which in turn, got me to laugh.
At this time, we have no information concerning funeral arrangements. It could be several days before we know anything further. However, as details unfold, I will continue to keep the parish informed.
In these days ahead, please keep Fr. Bob French in your prayers. Let us rejoice in his life and the gifts he shared with our community. And let us, too, remember his family, priest friends, and this community in our prayers.
Bob, my friend, may you now rest in peace and live forever in the new life Jesus promised each of us.
Peace, and God bless,