Father Robert Bishop, C.M.F.

Father Robert Bishop sitting in chair

With a degree in canon law from Catholic University of America, in WDC, I served on diocesan marriage tribunals in Seattle, Los Angeles, and the Maronite eparchy, dealing with the validity of marriages, first as an advocate for couples, and then as Defender of the Bond and judge. For the longest time, I did a regular Sunday Mass in the Tridentine rite here at Dominguez, and at St. Therese parish in Alhambra. I was often called on to preach retreats in various places. I also learned the Byzantine rite in order to help out at parishes in WDC, Phoenix, and Southern California. My studies in canon law at CUA came between parish assignments at St. Anthony’s in Phoenix and San Gabriel Mission.

The way you members of our alumni association remember what you learned here and are now using in your parishes, and for the good of the Church, is marvelous. I am very happy to have been able to satisfy the desires of those who want the Latin Mass.

My family became Catholic because of the beauty of the rite. My own pastor was very reverent in celebrating mass, and preaching, and that inspired me in my vacation to the Religious life, where I have learned how to get along with others as brothers. My mom was impressed with the Catholic school at St. Augustine parish near where we lived in Memphis because the kids were better trained, and the education was more spiritual. Later, when we moved to Los Angeles, we joined the Catholic Church, and were baptized at Holy Name of Jesus parish, except for my dad who preferred no religion at all. There was a Methodist church near our house in Memphis. My grandparents were Baptists, and my mother played the piano in a Baptist church but did not like the way Baptists carried on. Here in Los Angeles, there is no segregation, but Holy Name was all Black. I loved the Irish priests. I had wanted to be a priest already when I was Baptist because of the beauty of the mass. It was more sacred; there was no jumping up and down. The showmanship of Protestant pastors was a negative for me.

I was a brother for two years because of trouble with Latin; Father Hyman made the decision. So I worked in the tailor shop, and made cassocks. But Latin was not a problem later on. Father Joe Nuevo told me to ask Father Peter Schweiger, the superior general, who was here on visitation, and he allowed me to become a priest, at last, even though Father Michael Cecere, the provincial, was against it. Some others wondered what was going on when Father Felix Beperet began teaching me the essential Latin words I would need for the mass and sacraments while I was still working in the tailor shop.