Many acknowledged that Bob probably spoke Hindi better than those native to the country!
Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert (Bob) I. Grib, SJ, who died on January 25, 2016, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Mich. He was 75 years old, a Jesuit for 57 years, and a priest for 43 years.
Bob was born in Chicago on March 31, 1940. He attended Five Holy Martyrs grade school from 1946 to 1954, before moving on to St. Ignatius High School, where he graduated in 1958. He entered the Jesuits in Milford, Ohio on September 1 that year. After pronouncing first vows in 1960, he continued with his juniorate studies at Milford, before moving to West Baden, Ind., in 1962 for philosophy. He completed his philosophy studies in North Aurora, Ill., receiving a master’s degree.
Upon completing his philosophical studies, Bob asked to be missioned to Patna, India, for his regency. In 1965, he began to study Hindi for two years at Khrist Raja High School in Bettiah, Bihar, before continuing to teach English and sociology at the high school for another year. From 1968 to 1969, Bob continued his study of Hindi at XTTI in Patna, Bihar. After this special year of language study, Bob moved on to the Papal Athenaeum in Harzaribagh Bihar, for four years of theological studies. He returned to Chicago for his ordination on March 19, 1972, at St. Thomas More Church. Bob completed his bachelor of sacred theology in India in 1973.
From 1973 to 1974, Bob served as dean of the Jesuit Juniorate Program and taught English at XXTI in Patna, Bihar. In 1974, he began three years of service as a parish priest and diocesan youth director at a Catholic church in Bettiah, Bihar. This was followed by his tertianship year at St. Xavier’s School in Hazaribagh. From 1977 to 1978, he spent a year of special studies at the Central Hindi Institute in Delhi. Bob professed final vows on November 5, 1977.
From 1978 to 1985 Bob taught Hindi to the novices and junior candidates at XTTI, Naviyoti Niketan in Patna, Bihar. He also served as director of the summer Hindi programs for priests and religious. From 1985 to 1987, Bob conducted training in counseling, spirituality, and neuro-linguistic programming at the Sadhana Institute in Lonavara, Maharashtra. He was the director of candidates at Sanjivan Niwas in Patna, Bihar, from 1987 to 1988. From 1988 to 1989, Bob served as a parish priest in the Catholic Church in Bettiah in the Champaran region of Bihar. Bob was then stationed at Navijyoti in Patna, Bihar, until 1994, directing retreats, youth leadership training, summer Hindi courses, and sessions in neuro-linguistic programming. Finally, from 1994 to 1996, Bob was the diocesan youth director at the Muzaffarpur Minor Seminary in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. With this final assignment, Bob concluded his 31-year career in India, with many acknowledging that he probably spoke Hindi better than those native to the country!
Upon returning to the United States in 1996, Bob served as a substitute teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis. He then served as pastor at St. Ignatius Parish in Chicago. After a sabbatical year, Bob spent a year and a half as associate pastor at Our Lady of the Brook Parish in Northbrook, Ill., before directing retreats at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, Ill. From 2002 to 2009, Bob served as an associate pastor at St. Juliana Parish in Chicago. After a semester sabbatical, Bob spent the next year in residence at St. Francis Borgia Parish in Chicago, where he also assisted with music ministry. He was then involved in other music and pastoral ministry, before residing at St. Eugene Parish in Chicago, where his brother, Phil, is a priest in residence. In 2015, Bob moved to Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich., to care for his health.