It is with great sadness that the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas has learned of the sudden death of our brother, Most Rev. Robert Christian O.P., Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco and President-Rector of St. Patrick Seminary and University. Bishop Christian died unexpectedly on 11 July 2019 at his residence at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California (USA).
Fr. Christian began his doctoral studies at the Angelicum in 1979. Upon completion of his doctorate, he ministered at Newman Centers at the University of California in Riverside and the University of Washington in Seattle. He was assigned to the Faculty of Theology at the Angelicum in 1985, except for the years 1997-1999, when he was vicar provincial of the Western Dominican Province headquartered in Oakland. Fr. Robert taught Theology, ministered to the Dominican community and held administrative offices at the Angelicum. A valued member of the Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission since 2011, Bishop Robert also served as a Consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 2012. Prior to becoming bishop he was the master of students at St. Albert Priory in Oakland.
On 28 March 2018, he was named an auxiliary bishop by Pope Francis. On 5 June 2018, he was ordained a bishop at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, on 14 January 2019, he was named rector-president of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University.
The Angelicum community wishes to express sincere condolences to the family of Bishop Christian, the Western Dominican Province and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. We thank God for his 50 years of ministry to the Church and his Dominican vocation.
Eternal rest grant unto Bishop Robert, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of rest in peace. Amen.