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Most Rev. Robert Henry Brom

Deceased: 2022-05-09

Diocese: SAN DIEGO

Seminary Graduation Year: 1964

Longtime Bishop Robert Henry Brom, of the  Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, died in his home on May 9, 2022 at the age of 83.

“Bishop Brom was a pastor, teacher and servant leader of the Catholic community in San Diego and Imperial Counties for 23 years,” San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said in a press statement. “He was a natural teacher who constantly labored to bring the ecclesiology of the second Vatican council into the heart of the Diocese of San Diego.”

“I asked myself how I could best use my God-given gifts and talents to make a contribution to people and the world,” he said. “All of us in leadership, in the church and in the public sector, we have to get beyond our self interest in order to be genuine servants of the people.”

Brom was born in Arcadia, Wisconsin, on Sept. 18, 1938, the second of five siblings. After his father got a job with Sears, the family moved to Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

“He was kind of a ringleader,” his oldest sister Mary Fellenz, 84, remembered. “He was fun to be around. We loved him.” Brom enjoyed singing and was a great storyteller, Fellenz added. “He was prom king in Rice Lake.”The family was deeply religious, and the charismatic Brom felt drawn to the church from a young age. The profession would prove a good fit.

Saint John Paul appointed him to be the bishop of Duluth in 1963 and coadjutor bishop of San Diego in 1989. Brom was appointed bishop of San Diego in 1990, retiring in 2013. In San Diego, Brom oversaw the development of several Catholic churches and schools. He helped establish the $12 million Pastoral Center on Paducah Drive in the Bay Ho neighborhood, replacing the diocese’s previous offices at the University of San Diego. Two Catholic high schools, each costing about $80 million and accommodating about 2,000 students, were also established on his watch: Cathedral Catholic in Carmel Valley and Mater Dei in Chula Vista.

A funeral for Brom is scheduled for 11 a.m. on May 17 at Saint Thérèse of Carmel Church in Del Mar Heights. A burial is planned at Holy Cross Cemetery in San Diego.