Rev. Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C.

Rev. Robert S. Pelton, C.S.C.
May 29, 1921-November 4, 2019

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Rev. Robert Stuart Pelton, C.S.C., 98, died on Monday, November 4, 2019, at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.

Watch Fr. Pelton’s Funeral Mass here via YouTube.

Fr. Pelton was born May 29, 1921, in Evanston, Ill., to Guy M. and Nelle (Russell) Pelton. He graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1939. Fr. Pelton was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross on August 15, 1942 and made his First Profession of Vows on August 16, 1943. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1945 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. Fr. Pelton made his Final Profession of Vows on June 9, 1947; and was ordained a priest on June 8, 1949. Following his ordination, he spent a year teaching at Notre Dame. In 1950, he received a Bachelor’s of Sacred Theology from Angelicum University in Rome, where he received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1951 and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1953.

He returned to Notre Dame from 1953 to 1963, where he was a teacher and prefect and served as Chairman of the Theology Department from 1959 to 1963. He also became Assistant Superior at Notre Dame in 1963, until he received a one-year fellowship to study at the University of Madrid in Spain. Fr. Pelton also was active in Latin American cultural affairs. He served as president of the Catholic Committee on Inter-American Student Problems and Chaplain to Latin American students at Notre Dame. From 1964 to 1967, Fr. Pelton served as the Superior and Rector at St. George’s College, Santiago, Chile. From 1967 to 1970, he was the Superior of the Holy Cross Community Center, Santiago, and a member of the District Council. He also served as Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the Archdiocese of Santiago from 1968 to 1972. Fr. Pelton was invited as an advisor to the last session of the Second Vatican Council in the summer of 1965.

From 1972 to 1973, Fr. Pelton was the Theological Advisor to the Sisters of the Holy Cross at Saint Mary’s College. He worked on renewal and continuing education projects from 1973 to 1976. Fr. Pelton was the Personnel Director of the Continuing Education Commission In 1976 to 1977; and then founded and served as Director of the Notre Dame Institute for Clergy Education from 1976 to 1991. He served as Director of the Institute for Pastoral and Social Ministry at Notre Dame from 1986 to 1991 and in 1992 became the Chaplain of St. Mary’s Convent and the Church of Loretto and taught Theology at the Kellogg and Kroc Institutes at Notre Dame. He entered Holy Cross House in 2017.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Guy and Nelle Pelton. He is survived by his grandniece, Margie Anella and his nephew Charles Sanders, and many other family members.

Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 7, 2019, at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind., where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus on Friday, November 8, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at

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