Father Frank Lobo describes himself as a very grateful and humble man who appreciates his role as a servant to Christ in the Catholic Church. “I am blessed,” he said of his 25 years in the priesthood.
Father Lobo was ordained August 10, 1995, as a priest in the Diocese of San Cristóbal in Táchira, Venezuela. After much discernment, he asked to live and work in Orlando for three years. He served St. Ann Parish in Haines City working with Father Robert Mitchell, who came to share in the joy of his incardination. In 2015, he renewed his term and became associate pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs.
“The welcome my family and I have received from the bishop and the people of Orlando has been beautiful,” said Father Lobo. “Not only for us, but also for all the Venezuelans who are looking for a place to re-start their lives. I look at my former Diocese of San Cristóbal with nostalgia because I love it.” Although he misses his homeland and is saddened by its suffering, Father Lobo is quick to add, “I feel this is the continuation of the ministry the Lord gave me. I have confidence in preaching the Gospel to all the nations, from San Cristóbal to Orlando and the entire world — because this area is comprised of a fascinating diversity.”
From a young age, he saw a “special joy and happiness” in the Church, adding there was a “special attraction to the poor, in poverty, in need.” His parents also fostered a great appreciation for the faith.
“My mom and dad have been married for 55 years,” he said. “They have been a wonderful example for me.”
Reflecting on his many years in the priesthood, Father Lobo knows his work in the Church was the most fulfilling choice he could have made. “I wanted to be closer to people, to serve them, to work with them, to serve Jesus the Lord.” And for 25 years, he has lived his dream.
“Tending to people in hospitals and at home to help people recover their health,” he said, “inspires me. I feel grateful to be there for them. I can see Jesus in them.”
When he’s not visiting the sick in the hospital or traveling to Japan to work in the missionary, Father Lobo enjoys listening to Vivaldi and Beethoven. His love for science-fiction, basketball, and martial arts (a Kenpo green belt) keeps him going when he isn’t working. And his lasting love for Lord of the Rings and Star Wars display just how down-to-earth he is.
When asked what advice he would offer those discerning the priesthood, Father Lobo urged them to “become a man of the Lord,” especially because the Church “needs disciples.”
“It is such a wonderful blessing. It offers 100% glory of God,” he said. “I would like to give thanks to God, to the diocese of Orlando, and to Bishop Noonan who accepted me.”