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Fr. Michael Dobbins dies at 54

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Father Michael J. Dobbins, pastor of St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock, died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 54. 
He was born June 16, 1966, in Pasadena, Texas to James Dobbins and Lora Lee Wright. His family moved to Virginia in 1976, settling in Stafford, where he attended North Stafford High School and graduated in 1985.
He attended Germanna Community College (1988-90) and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. After two years of working for suburban newspapers in Richmond, he entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Paul S. Loverde May 15, 1999.
Father Dobbins was parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria (1999-2003), St. Philip Church in Falls Church (2003-06), Holy Family Church in Dale City (2006-09), and Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester and St. Bridget of Ireland Mission in Berryville (2009-13). He was named parochial administrator of St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock and Our Lady of the Shenandoah Mission in Bayse in 2013 and was named pastor there in 2015. He served as dean of Deanery IV. 
Shortly before his ordination, Father Dobbins said that as a priest, he looked forward to putting people in contact with God. “Mother Teresa said that working with people and for God was a way of giving the love of God to the people she came into contact with,” he said. “Anyone who does God’s work participates in giving to people the love of God and the Gospel. I think it will be a great source of joy.”
Before entering hospice at his parents’ home a few weeks ago, Father Dobbins wrote a letter to his congregation that was read at the Nov. 1 Masses. “Being your pastor over the past seven years has been the greatest honor of my life,” it said. “Our holy faith teaches us that we have a future with our Lord in heaven. It is what unites us in our service of one another and our sweet Lord.”
The visitation and vigil for Father Dobbins will be held on Thursday, November 19 at St. John Bosco Church, 315 N. Main Street, Woodstock, 5-7:30 pm. The vigil for the deceased will be at 7:30 pm; space will be limited. The funeral will be held Friday, November 20 at Sacred Heart of Jesus, 130 Keating Drive, Winchester. Because of the pandemic, seating will be restricted. There will be overflow seating in the parish hall and the Mass will be livestreamed at 11:30 am here

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020