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Father Robert Chabot, known for his kindness, will work as an assistant in Texas.
By MICHELLE JONES, Times Correspondent
Published January 5, 2008
HOLIDAY - Father Robert Chabot is downsizing his career a bit. He will be retiring from his service as senior pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Holiday to work as an assistant at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Houston.
"In my order (the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament) you don't retire, you continue helping," said the 70-year-old priest.
Although he says he is in "sufficient" health, he feels staying on as a full-time pastor has become too much for him.
"I will miss the church, it's a beautiful church, and all the wonderful people," he said. "It is a very friendly, hospitable community."
One of the things the priest does is greet each of the parishioners personally at each mass.
"The elderly really enjoy the personal touch," he said.
He will be missed by the congregation, which numbers 1,300 families.
"He is a wonderful person, a good friend and my husband (Bob) and I just love him," said Anita McMahon, a member of the church who schedules readers and Eucharistic ministers. "He is the kindest priest we've known and is a very humble and prayerful man."
Peter Engeian agrees with McMahon.
"He is a nice guy. When I turned 95, he announced my birthday to the whole congregation," said Engeian, now 98. "I will miss him, he is very humble in many ways and he preaches a good sermon getting right to the point."
Chabot came to St. Vincent de Paul more than four years ago replacing Father Paul Goudreau, who was transferred to St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Hudson. Previously Chabot served a church in New Mexico for more than 12 years.
He grew up in Maine in a family of 10 children.
"I have a brother who is a pastor in Farmington, Maine," he said
The priest said he will miss Florida, too.
"I like to go to the beach on my day off and swim, read and walk," he said. "I will really miss having a beach nearby."
At 3 p.m. Sunday the congregation will have a farewell gathering at the church so everyone can say goodbye to the priest - who is leaving Tuesday. The pastoral council will host a pot luck dinner at the church, 4843 Mile Stretch Road.
The new priest is Father Mario Marzacchi.
[Last modified January 4, 2008, 21:26:12]