Rev. Robert H. Hoffman, C.S.C.

fr_hoffmanRev. Robert M. Hoffman, C.S.C., passed away on February 13, 2012 at Holy Cross House in Notre Dame, Ind. He was 90 years old.

Fr. Hoffman was born in Toledo, Ohio, to George C. and Louise (Comes) Hoffman on May 31, 1921, and was Baptized at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where he later attended grade school. In 1938, Fr. Hoffman graduated from Central Catholic High School. Inspired by the mission work of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Fr. Hoffman entered the seminary in Notre Dame, Ind., after graduating from high school. He went to St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Rolling Prairie, Ind., in August 1940. Following his First Profession of Vows in 1941, he returned to Notre Dame and Moreau Seminary, graduating in 1943. After theological studies at the Holy Cross Foreign Mission Seminary in Washington, D.C., he was ordained to the priesthood in Sacred Heart Church on the campus of the University of Notre Dame on June 13, 1947.

After Ordination, Fr. Hoffman served in what was then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in various assignments, most of which were spent among the indigenous Garo tribe. In 1955, he was assigned to the Foreign Mission Seminary to do fundraising and development for the Bengal Missions. Three years later, he returned to East Pakistan, but in 1965 Fr. Hoffman came back to Notre Dame to the Holy Cross Mission House and worked on the Mission Band for the next two years. In 1967, he was named Director of Fatima Retreat Center, Notre Dame, Ind., a position he held for the next two years.

In 1969, Fr. Hoffman began what would become a 19-year ministry in hospital ministry, spending three years each at St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Bend, Ind., and at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mishawaka, Ind. The next 13 years were in hospitals in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Fr. Hoffman established Pastoral Care Departments at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mishawaka, and Columbus Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals in Chicago. Fr. Hoffman helped usher in health care’s transition from traditional hospital ministry, one of purely a Sacramental service, to a broader approach that involved crisis counseling and support. While at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Elk Grove Village, Ill., he was elected to a two-year term as president of the Chicago Association of Catholic Chaplains.

In 1988, Fr. Hoffman returned to South Bend and helped at Faith, Hope and Charity Chapel for one year. The next year he was appointed administrator and then pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish, South Bend, where he served until 1995 when he moved to Holy Cross Mission House. Fr. Hoffman remained active, helping out at area parishes, convents and nursing homes. In 2002, Fr. Hoffman entered Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.

Fr. Hoffman is preceded in death by his parent,s George and Louise (Comes) Hoffman, his sister, Sister Louise Ann, S.N.D., and sister-in-law, Ursula Hoffman. He is survived by two brothers, James (husband of Ursula) and Harold Hoffman and his wife Nancy, along with several nieces and nephews and cousins.

Viewing and a wake service for Fr. Hoffman were held Thursday, February 16, 2012, in the Chapel of Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame. The funeral Mass was celebrated at the Sacred Heart Basilica, Notre Dame, on Friday, February 17.

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