Family, friends pray for missing priest's safe return at vigil

Family, friends pray for priests safe return

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Dozens of people packed San Sebastian Catholic Church in St. Augustine Saturday to pray for the return of Father Rene Robert.

His siblings drove from New York, and his nephew came from Jacksonville.

Robert disappeared on Sunday. The prime suspect in his disappearance is in custody at the St. Johns County Jail and officers launched a large-scale search for the priest on Saturday.

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Robert’s sister Debbie Bedard said they’re not leaving until he’s found.

“We are going to find him and we’re going to bring him home. That’s what I want to do is just bring him home,” said Bedard.

Robert’s nephew Shaun McAndrews said he always remembers how his uncle always wore sandals even when it was cold out.

“Very giving guy. My mom couldn’t be here but she loves him a lot,” said McAndrews.

Several people stood up during the prayer vigil and shared memories of Robert. One woman called him her angel and another said he taught her how to forgive.

There were dozens, if not more, stories that were shared by people who have known Robert for years and those who met him recently. No matter what, he had a positive impact on everyone.

Listening to the stories was a moving experience for his family who at times wept during the prayer vigil.

“It was difficult at first but I enjoyed listening to what they had to say about my brother and I just want to thank everyone for loving him so much. We loved him too,” said Bedard.

As the choir sang everyone came together in prayer, holding out faith for a man who’s never lost faith in them.

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