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In Memoriam: Father Christopher Roberts ‘20

By Dr. Gloria Falcão Dodd

When International Marian Research Institute student Father Christopher Roberts died following a tragic accident in October 2020 at the age of 41, his passing came as a great shock and a significant loss to me, to his fellow students and to the IMRI faculty and staff.

Father Christopher began his studies at IMRI in 2015 and was a vibrant student at IMRI. I was blessed to direct his Licentiate in Sacred Theology thesis, which he completed in September 2020. He had a brilliant mind, a serious work ethic and a strong Marian devotion. He used them all as a busy pastor in the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana, for 13 years, taking classes and writing his thesis for five of those years. His sense of humor and haste helped him to juggle both pastoral and academic work.

His wisdom remains with us

Father Christopher’s wisdom, thoughtfulness and insights are preserved in writing and in videos.

‘He had a tender heart’

Father Christopher’s legacy also endures in the hearts of those who knew him. María Enriqueta García Gallegos, who studied with Father Christopher before earning her Doctorate of Sacred Theology in 2019, said she appreciated the time Father Christopher always took to talk over coffee or on the phone.

“Father Christopher was a good friend,” she said. “It was always a joy to be listened to and appreciated by such an intelligent and devoted priest. In the end, I always asked him for a blessing, and he liked it so much that I had asked him for his blessing. I always felt free to talk to him. ... I miss him so much. I always will.”

María said what I and others felt: “He had a tender heart.”

An honor earned and deserved

In December 2020, IMRI posthumously awarded Father Christopher with the S.T.L. degree, which he earned magna cum laude.

He has been missed. May he rest in peace.

— Dr. Gloria Falcão Dodd is the director of academic programs for the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton

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