Fr. Robert Barnes, fifth abbot at Holy Cross Monastery, dies

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Father Robert Barnes, former abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Cross in Berryville, died Jan. 30 at age 75. He was installed as the Holy Cross Monastery’s fifth abbot in 1998, during the 900th anniversary year of the founding of the Cistercian Order in France. He served as abbot until 2016.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. at the Holy Cross Abbey, 901 Cool Spring Ln., Berryville.

Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge expressed his condolences.

“Along with Bishop (Paul S.) Loverde and all the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful in the Diocese of Arlington, I convey my prayers for the soul of our departed brother in the Lord, Abbot Robert Barnes, OCSO. With immense gratitude in our hearts, we pray that the Lord will welcome His generous servant, Abbot Robert, to His heavenly home. At his installation as abbot in 1998, Abbot Robert said, ‘I request and lay on you this responsibility: that you continue to hold us in your hearts and in prayer.’ May we heed his request, as we continue to hold Abbot Barnes in our prayers and commend his soul to Our Blessed Mother, asking that perpetual light may shine upon him.”  

Father Barnes was born Jan. 5, 1942, in Baltimore, and entered Holy Cross Abbey in 1961, at age 18, the first Berryville abbot to have entered as a postulant. He made his final solemn profession of vows Aug. 15, 1966, and was ordained to the priesthood May 19, 1970. He attended St. Charles College Seminary in Catonsville, Md., studied theology at Catholic University in Washington and earned a master’s in pastoral counseling at Loyola College in Baltimore.

Father Barnes had served his community as prior (assistant to the abbot) from 1977 to 1981 and from 1986 to 1989. He was responsible for running the monastery’s bakery, known for its fruitcake.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017