Fr. Charles Aboody, founder of Melkite seminary, dies

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Father Charles Aboody, one of the first Americans trained to serve the Melkite Church in the United States, died May 29 at age 85. He was in residence at Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek Church in McLean and would have celebrated his 55th jubilee as a priest June 10.

Visitation was June 2 at Holy Transfiguration. A funeral Mass was offered at Holy Transfiguration June 3.

He was born Dec. 6, 1931, in Worcester, Mass., to Salem and Rose Aboody and had five brothers and two sisters.

In addition to jobs in the family restaurant business, Father Aboody served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was ordained a priest in 1962 and served for six months at St. Joseph Melkite Greek Church in Lawrence, Mass., until becoming an assistant at Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral in Boston from 1962 to 1970.

He served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Worcester, Mass., from 1970 to 1975. Father Aboody was appointed vocations director for the Melkite Church in America in 1970 and served until 1975. He founded St. Gregory the Theologian Seminary in Newton Centre, Mass., in 1975 and served as rector from 1975 to 1984.

He was rector of Our Lady of the Annunciation Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral from 1984 to 1987 before becoming pastor of St. Anne Melkite Church in North Hollywood, Calif., in 1987.  He retired from St. Anne Church in 1995 for health reasons.

Father Aboody was the founding vice-chairman of the board of directors for the Institute of Catholic Culture in McLean.

Anson Groves, director of religious education at Holy Spirit Church in Annandale and a parishioner at Holy Transfiguration, described Father Aboody as a very active retired priest and credits him with his call to the Melkite diaconate “because of his example of a priestly and servant life.”

Groves said Father Aboody had a complete and utter trust in God and his favorite assignment was as seminary director. When Father Aboody was building the seminary he ordered icons needed for liturgical services before money was available. A donor came through.

“Something he always said was, ‘If you take care of the prayers, God takes care of everything else,’” said Groves. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017