Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

MARYKNOLL, N.Y. – Maryknoll Father Robert R. Lefebvre died at Mission St. Teresa’s Residence in Maryknoll on May 28, 2016. He was 86 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 58 years.

He was born on Sept. 4, 1930, in Manchester, N.H. In 1941, his family moved to New Britain, where he attended St. Mary School and then St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. After graduating in 1950, he entered the Maryknoll order.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Ill. (1952). Father Lefebvre also held a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in religious education from Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y.

Father Lefebvre is survived by his sister, Constance Doyon of New Britain, and cousins.

Father Lefebvre professed his perpetual oath on June 7, 1956. After his ordination on June 8, 1957, Father Lefebvre was assigned to Tanzania, East Africa. He built a maternity hospital and served in a number of parishes in the Diocese of Shinyanga.

In 1972, Father Lefebvre was assigned to Indonesia. He represented the Indonesia Episcopal Conference on the Island of Galang, where the Vietnamese “boat people” were sheltered after their escape from the Communist government. He managed the financial donations forwarded through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Soon after, he assisted Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in distributing food and medicine in East Timor. After East Timor was hit by an earthquake, Father Lefebvre  investigated damages and initiated programs to assist victims for the CRS office in New York.

From 1976-81, Father Lefebvre served as the English secretary to Archbishop Vincenzo Farano, the apostolic nuncio to Indonesia, as well as in a parish. He also ministered in a parish in the Diocese of Bogor, where he then developed and was pastor of two parishes.

Father Lefebvre was recalled to the United States and assigned to the Maryknoll Development Department in 1990. He was director of the Maryknoll Development House in New York City. He later was appointed director of the Eastern Area.

In 1994, Father Lefebvre was appointed procurator general for the Maryknoll Society with residence in Rome. He served as Maryknoll’s official representative to the Holy See and to the various congregations, councils and commissions of the Roman Catholic Curia of the Vatican in Rome.

Father Lefebvre returned to the United States in May 1997 and once again was assigned to the Development Department. In September 1997, he was assigned to a parish on the island of Eleuthera and then to a parish in the Archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas.

Although he retired in 1999, Father Lefebvre remained active, serving as a judge/advocate on the Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal and continuing his ministry at St. Paul the Apostle parish until 2009, when he returned to Maryknoll.