Our beloved brother and uncle, Rev. Father Louis Albert Abdoo, was called home to God on July 28, 2023. Father Louis (Brud to his family) was born March 17, 1944, in Utica, New York, the second child of the late Louis Albert and Helen Theresa Abdoo. Father Louis was a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School and Notre Dame High School, where he received a Gannett Scholarship. An outdoorsman from an early age, he was an Eagle Scout. On graduation from high school, Father Louis went directly into the seminary, entering Consolata Missionary Seminary in Buffalo, New York. Following his studies in Buffalo, Father Louis studied in Rome, Italy, and London, England. He earned a B.A. in Theology from The Catholic University of America, an M.A. in Education from The Catholic University of America, and an M.A. in Theology from Saint Paul’s College, all in Washington, D.C.
After completing his education and his seminarian studies, Father Louis was ordained a Maronite Catholic priest, by Maronite Bishop Francis Zayek, at St. Louis Gonzaga Church, in Utica, New York, on July 24, 1973. Although Father Louis joined the Consolata Fathers, as a lifelong Maronite, he was ordained in the Maronite rite. Father Louis recently celebrated fifty years in the priesthood at St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church, in Riverside, California, where he faithfully served the community for 23 years, the last nine as Administrator.
Following his ordination, Father Louis was assigned by the Consolata Fathers to Nyeri, Kenya, where his missionary work included teaching at a secondary school. “Although not a cure for every ill; education provides the individual with a better chance for his own development,” Father Louis said.
After five years in Africa, Father Louis was sent to Florencia in Caqueta, Columbia, during a time of great political upheaval in that country. Father Louis served a vast area of the Amazon rainforest, traveling by boat along the rivers to minister to the needs of the people. He visited many villages only once a year, preaching the good news of the Gospel, conducting weddings and baptisms, hearing confessions, and distributing the Eucharist.
During his time in Columbia, Father Louis was often approached by guerillas asking him to bless their rifles. On one occasion while ministering to inmates in the Caqueta state prison it was assaulted by guerrilla forces. Their leader approached Father Louis as he was administering Last Rites to a guard who had been shot. He said to Father Louis, “Father, you have your job and we have ours.” Father Louis realized in that moment the tremendous job he had as a missionary priest; to give succor to people in times of need, to offer light where there is darkness, courage where there is fear, and hope where there is despair.
Father Louis initiated a program in his community in Columbia to promote the planting of rubber trees in place of coca used to make cocaine. A documentary was made of his efforts using video footage of coca agriculture and cocaine processing that Father Louis himself filmed. The documentary was nominated for an award.
Reflecting on his time in Columbia, Father Louis said, “I wonder about my presence here. Has it mattered? Does it matter? You preach the peace of Jesus, and the killing is more; you teach about his love, and hate fills the heart.”
After 15 years in the Caqueta rainforest, Father Louis returned to the United States. His priestly ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino began in 1996 with an assignment as parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino. He served for a time at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim and as a chaplain to Serra Club, a Catholic lay organization dedicated to fostering vocations to the priesthood, as well as, lay ministries.
Father Louis was preceded in death by his parents, Helen Theresa and Louis Albert Abdoo; his sister, Gloria Campbell and her husband, Ron Campbell; his sister, Anita Abdoo; and his sister, Anne Abdoo Kuenzli; as well as, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Father Louis is survived by his brother, Albert John Abdoo; his sister, Helen Theresa “Terry” Abdoo King and her husband, John King; and his brother-in-law, Ron Kuenzli. He is also survived by nieces and nephews, Ronnie (Maria) Campbell, Kathleen (Aaron) Myers, Paul (Denise) Campbell, Michael (Gretchen) Baumer, Erin (Gregg) Zimmermann, and Bridget (Glenn) Baumer, Katherine “Kattoo” King, and John King, in addition to great-nieces and nephews, Maddison (Jeff), Elizabeth, Nicholas, Christopher, Archer, Dexter, Anna, Molly, Sarah, Katie, Zoe Theresa, and Dylan Louis. Father Louis also has numerous cousins and countless friends who will miss him.
The Divine Liturgy of the Faithful Departed will take place on Friday, August 11, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Louis Gonzaga Maronite Church, in Utica, New York, celebrated by Abouna Boutros El Hachem, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Francis DeSales Church, 4268 Lime St., Riverside, CA 92501-3868, St. Louis Gonzaga Church, 520 Rutger St., Utica, NY 13501, or the Consolata Missionaries, 2624 NJ-27, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902.
Local arrangements are with The Matt Funeral Home, Utica, NY.
“It has been 50 years since my ordination. I give pause to think about these years. Kenya, Africa, was the beginning of my first years. Jacaranda trees and my Kikuyu people, such a joy to have been there. Columbia, South America, Caqueta, the civil war, murder and violence; campesinos seeking a better future. Riverside, California, parish life, new hopes, new dreams. These were good years. I enjoyed them all.”
Rest in peace, Brud, and go with God, Father Louis.
St. Francis DeSales Church
4268 Lime Street, Riverside CA 92501-3868
2624 NJ-27, North Brunswick Township NJ 08902
St. Louis Gonzaga Church
520 Rutger Street, Utica NY 13501