We Remember Reverend Robert Hoeffner

Jan 30, 2024

Reverend Robert Hoeffner

August 20, 1947-January 28, 2024
Ordained to the Priesthood: April 28, 1973


Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Robert “Bob” Hoeffner who, with his sister, Sally, were tragically murdered in their home on Sunday, January 28. Born to parents Bernard and Margaret on August 20, 1947, in Queens, NY, Father Hoeffner was one of eight children.

Father Hoeffner moved to Fort Pierce as a young child, where his family kept citrus groves. In middle school, through the influence of three priests who were friends of the family, Father Hoeffner began considering the priesthood. At 14, when it was time for high school, he chose to enter St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. He then attended St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, and was ordained April 28, 1973, by Bishop William D. Borders at St. Anastasia Parish in Fort Pierce for the Diocese of Orlando.

His first assignment was at Good Shepherd Parish in Orlando, followed by teaching at Bishop Moore Catholic High School, and then directing the San Pedro Spiritual Development Center where he ran summer camps and retreats for two years. Then in 1976, he was given a new challenge. “I was asked to come to the chancery as the director of liturgy and ecumenism – neither of which I had a clue about!” laughed Father Hoeffner. “After two years of not knowing what I was doing, I went away to study at the Catholic University of America and got a degree in liturgical studies.”

For the next nine years, Father Hoeffner would serve as the director of liturgy and Bishop Thomas Grady’s master of ceremonies. During this time, he also began celebrating the TV Mass, something he would continue to do for 28 years. He was named Vicar Forane and served as member of the Presbyteral Council.

In 1987, Bishop Grady approached him with the news of a new parish in Orlando. Starting with one hundred families celebrating Mass in a VFW hall, Father Hoeffner would spend the next 12 years, building St. Isaac Jogues Parish from the ground up. In 1998, an opportunity arose for Father Hoeffner to move to a parish closer to his parents, who were in poor health. He became pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Palm Bay where he would continue to serve the parish and school community until his retirement in 2016. While there he established a trilingual parish council that equally represented the Anglo, Hispanic, and Filipino communities and began a chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society to serve the needs of the poor.

At the celebration of his 50th anniversary to the priesthood, Father Hoeffner quipped, “I’ve spent 50 years doing absolutely incredible things and I am thankful to God for it.”

Bishop John Noonan’s Statement

“We mourn with the St. Joseph Catholic community in Palm Bay over the tragic loss of these four lives as we pray for the repose of their souls and extend our prayers to their families. I share with you that Father Robert “Bob” Hoeffner and his sister, Sally, both were tragically murdered. Throughout his priesthood, Father Hoeffner served the people of God with compassion and humility. We will miss his grace-filled presence. We know he and his sister are received by the Lord with mercy and love. We also pray for the two police officers who were injured and for our public servants who safeguard our community and extend our gratitude to them during this difficult time.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend John Noonan
Bishop of Orlando