A Good Priest

Sister Christian Molidor reflects on Msgr. Stern’s impact on CNEWA and their great friendship.

Today marks Msgr. Robert Stern’s last day as president of CNEWA, after almost a quarter of a century leading the agency. We asked another CNEWA veteran, and longtime colleague, Sister Christian Molidor, to share a few thoughts.

I’ve been asked to write a brief profile of Msgr. Stern… but how can it be brief?

Three days after I was hired by CNEWA, I was sent to India. When the cardinal appointed Msgr. Stern to CNEWA, he was told to begin immediately to reorganize, renew and revitalize the agency. Was this favoritism by the Holy Spirit?! I asked myself: Who is this Jewish-Irish fellow from Harlem’s parishes?

Oh, just a physicist educated at Amherst (and honored as an archimandrite before I even knew how to spell the word), an experienced traveler and linguist (the ability to speak several languages is an asset, but the ability to keep your mouth shut in one language is priceless), a skilled diplomat (he will accept “probably,” but never “perhaps”), a wise manager (he never thinks of CNEWA more than 19 hours a day), a creative and generous mentor (“I always listen carefully to everything you say, Christian, then don’t do it,”)… Okay, so he’s a genius, but you’ll have to admit his puns are terrible.

“Sterno” and I have been colleagues for years too numerous to mention (my old age erases numbers) and in truth, we’ve been friends for twice that long. (Are we really that old?)

But the highest, the most significant compliment I offer is that Bob Stern is a good priest.

And that’s why gratitude is my heart’s memory!

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