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New Jersey Priest Killed In Climbing Accident On Oregon’s Mount Hood

Lauded For Enthusiasm, Father Robert Cormier Spent Years In Newark And Jersey City

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Father Robert Cormier, pastor of St. Patrick and Assumption/All Saints parish, celebrated a First Communion Mass last weekend.

He died Tuesday morning during a climbing accident on Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak, police said.

Friends told CBS 2’s John Slattery that Cormier was dynamic and creative.

“This incident shows he was also very adventurous, not averse to taking risks,” retired pastor Rev. Eugene Squeo said Wednesday.

Known as “Father Bob” to parishioners, Cormier was climbing with two long-time friends. He had reached the peak alone and went onto a shelf of snow that gave way. He fell some 1,000 feet, police said.

As of Wednesday evening a recovery team had still not gone in for his body because of dangerous conditions, Slattery reported.

Cormier, an author of three books, worked for 17 years at St. Rose of Lima in Newark, where he was fluent in Spanish.

“He was even more fluent in Portuguese, spoke Italian, a bit of French and a little bit of a few other languages,” Rev. Squeo said.

Father Marc-Arthur Francois said he admired his friend’s enthusiasm.

“He would do his best to drag you into what he was doing, because he would do it with passion,” Father Francois said.

Friends said Cormier, 57, had a series of climbs he wanted to complete.

“Mt. Hood was the last. This was to be his last climb,” Rev. Squeo said.

Cormier was a part-time climber and a full-time priest. His remains will be returned to the place where he said Mass every day for a funeral.

The body of the priest was spotted by an aircraft, but with warm temperatures those who do recovery work said they are fearful of a possible avalanche, Slattery reported.

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