PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The late Rev. Robert Mulvee, who passed away in late December after a brief illness at the age of 88, was laid to rest on Thursday.
Bishop Mulvee was buried at St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston following a Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.
Angelic music resonated throughout the cathedral as the pews were filled with dozens of parishioners and church leaders from across the Northeast, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Those who knew Bishop Mulvee say he will be remembered as a priest’s priest, a bishop’s bishop, and a people’s bishop.
“A great priest,” Cardinal O’Malley said. “A man who loved his vocation, loved the people he served, the priests he was with. A great blessing for all of us. He’ll be fondly remembered.”
Mulvee served as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Providence from 1997 until 2005. Even after his retirement, he was still active in the Diocese as a bishop emeritus.
In 2017, he celebrated 60 years as a priest and 40 as a bishop.
Prior to coming to Providence, Mulvee served as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, and before that in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Paraphrasing something that Bishop Mulvee’s great niece once said, Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, said in his eulogy that he would “make you feel like you were the most special person in the world.”
“A few minutes with Father Bob left you feeling happy and hopeful,” Bishop Barres said.
Bishop Mulvee’s legacy is being a man of the people and caring for everyone’s needs in a humble, gentle and kind way. He’s remembered for comforting those who lost loved ones in the Station Nightclub fire, having a zero-tolerance policy for clergy sexual abuse, years before that scandal rocked the church, and never forgetting those he met.
“He went to the same seminary as I did in Louvain and way back then, he made a commitment that if he ever became a bishop that he would not forget the guys at Louvain,” Fr. Chris Von Maluski of St. Mary’s and St. Augustin’s in Newport recalled. “He certainly kept his commitment because I was the only one there and he made a special trip to come over to see me.”