After 57 years of religious life and 49 years of priesthood, Fr. Robert Erickson, CSV, touched a lot of lives. Stories of his impact have been pouring into the Viatorian Province Center since he passed away Jan. 15, at the age of 75.
Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, credits Fr. Erickson with not only giving him his first teaching job at Griffin High School, but he influenced his decision to convert to Catholicism and ultimately enter religious life.
“He was the first Viatorian I met, and he was a role model and mentor,” Br. Rob says. “The day I walked through those doors of Griffin High School as a young man, changed my life. I certainly had no idea that God had a plan of a religious vocation for me. God certainly does work in mysterious ways.
“My life would have been less fulfilling,” Br. Rob adds, “without Fr. Bob Erickson.”
Another Viatorian, Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, recalls having Fr. Erickson as his math teacher senior year at Saint Viator High School.
“He was always very supportive of my vocation to the priesthood,” Fr. Lydon says.
Still, another Saint Viator High School graduate, Mike Oslance, class of 1971, wrote to say how much Fr. Erickson had influenced his decision to enter the priesthood.
“Fr. Erickson was one of many priests at St. Viator who made quite an impression on me,” Mike wrote. “Their efforts truly made an impact upon my style of pastoral and educational ministry.”
More recently, Fr. Erickson influenced parishioners at suburban churches, where he helped out as a guest presider.
Brian Opitz, a suburban police officer, described himself as a “groupie” of Fr. Erickson’s, following him to wherever he was preaching next, while Pat Harrington, who coordinates the suburban shelter network, says she was so impressed by one of Fr. Erickson’s homilies that she asked him for a copy of it.