Fr. Robert Weakley, OFM, Peoria native, former pastor in Germantown Hills, dies

Father Robert Weakley, OFM Conv.

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Father Robert “Bob” Weakley, OFM, a Peoria native who served as pastor of St. Mary of Lourdes Parish in Germantown Hills for nine years, died on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at St. John the Baptist Friary in Cincinnati. He was 80.

Franciscan friars, family, and friends will receive Father Bob’s body at Holy Family Church in Oldenburg, Indiana, on Friday, Jan. 28, at 9:30 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 a.m., with interment in the friars’ section at Holy Family Cemetery in Oldenburg.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/HolyFamilyChurch.Oldenburg.IN

Born March 31, 1941, in Peoria to Leo and Dorothy (Gerber) Weakley, he attended St. Boniface School and began his high school studies at Spalding Institute. After one year at Spalding, he transferred to St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati, from which he was graduated in 1959.

Invested as a novice at St. Anthony Shrine in 1960 and making his first profession of vows a year later, he entered Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He made his solemn Franciscan vows on Aug. 16, 1964.

Father Bob received his Master of Divinity degree from St. Leonard College in Centerville, Ohio, where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1968.

 TEACHER, PASTOR, CHAPLAIN

Father Bob would serve at parishes throughout the Franciscan Friars’ St. John the Baptist Province. His first assignment was as a teacher and head of the religion department at Cincinnati’s Roger Bacon High School from 1968 to 1976. During these years, he also earned a master’s degree in religion from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Following four years as associate pastor of St. Louis Parish in Batesville, Indiana, he became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Emporia, Kansas in 1980.

From 1986 to 1992, he served as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Calumet, Michigan.

In the Diocese of Peoria, Father Bob guided St. Mary of Lourdes in Germantown Hills from 1992 to 2001. After serving as pastor of parishes in Southfield, Michigan, he returned to his hometown in 2009 and was in residence at Sacred Heart Parish in downtown Peoria from 2009 to 2012.

His final assignments included service as director of priestly formation at Blessed Giles Friary in Chicago. In 2014, he began seven years of ministry as chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of Oldenburg and guardian at Holy Family Friary.

Father Bob was actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous, helping many people embrace and celebrate sobriety.

Declining health led him to retire from active ministry after observing the 60th anniversary of religious profession last August, residing at St. John the Baptist Friary to receive needed additional nursing care.

In 2011, on the occasion of his golden jubilee of profession, Father Bob told The Catholic Post he was attracted to the priesthood by members of the Order of Friars Minor who in his boyhood served at St. Boniface Parish in Peoria.

“I wanted to be a missionary and go to the foreign missions and live a community life,” he said. While he never went to foreign missions, “I really love the community life and the opportunity to serve as a priest in so many different dioceses.”

Father Bob was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Michael, and both of his sisters, Patricia Hall and Kathryn “Kay” Matranga. He is survived by a sister-in-law, Mary Weakley, brothers-in-law, David Matranga and Dave Hall, and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made in care of FriarWorks, 1615 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

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