SAN DIEGO — Bishop Robert McElroy presided over the funeral Mass on May 17 for Bishop-Emeritus Robert Brom at St. Théresè of Carmel Church, which was packed with friends, family members, fellow clergy and long-time lay leaders. He died on May 9 at age 83 at his local residence.
The Mass was concelebrated by several bishops, including Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, as well as San Diego’s own auxiliaries, Bishops John Dolan and Ramón Bejarano.
“We know that Bob Brom lived in the light of faith,” Bishop McElroy said shortly after the Mass began. “He was a pastor, who cared for the souls with whom he was entrusted. He was a shepherd who labored ardently to tend to the flock. He was a teacher at heart, seeking to bring the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who had heard it before, to those who needed to hear it anew, and to those who had never heard it at all. He was a leader of this diocese on so many levels.”
Msgr. Steven Callahan, pastor of St. Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach, worked alongside Bishop Brom for years. As the homilist, he said that, after his first one-on-one encounter with the late bishop, he recognized him as a man who “knows who he is, and where he’s going, and what he’s about, and what his mission is.”
He recalled some favorite expressions of Bishop Brom’s, including “The Church either thrives in its parishes or it does not thrive at all,” “You shape your environment and your environment will shape you,” and “If Heaven’s so great, why wait?”
Of the latter, he said, “He meant it. It wasn’t a joke. … There was a longing in Robert Brom’s heart for the freedom of the children of God, awaiting – in the words of the Book of Revelation – a new heaven and a new earth. And while there’s definitely sadness in our hearts that he cannot be with us in the body, those are overtaken by our feelings of joy for him and the communion he now shares with our loving God, what he experiences, the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
After the Mass, Bishop Brom was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, where a small group of family members, friends and former colleagues paid their final respects.