Oct 11 2013

Honoring Bob Hentzen: share your memories and celebrate his life

Bob Hentzen

CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen was an inspiration to people all across the world. He made friends wherever his feet took him.

We would like to use this space on the blog to celebrate Bob Hentzen’s life.

We ask that you share your thoughts and memories of Bob in the comments below.

31 thoughts on “Honoring Bob Hentzen: share your memories and celebrate his life”

  1. In 2002 I graduated law school. I had a couple of weeks before starting work in NYC, so I joined CFCA on a Mission Awareness Trip to Kenya. The trip was eye opening, and Bob Hentzen made such an impression on me. I described him to others in my life as a real Jesus figure. He was obviously accomplished, and had led such an interesting life, but he was so humble and kind. I loved listening to him sing and play guitar on that trip. He was soft spoken, but yet he had such conviction and a strong and clear message of hope.

    I feel so blessed that this September I attended the CFCA movie tour when it stopped in Brooklyn. It had been 12 years since I had seen Bob, but he immediately picked me right out of the crowd and greeted me as an old friend. I was so touched by his message of love and peace yet again. I was so saddened to hear of his death a few weeks later. Bob’s influence and message of love and solidarity will remain with me forever.

    I send my deep and sincere condolences to Bob’s wonderful family and to the entire CFCA community. Like Bob, every day you do extraordinary work in the world’s margins. You do it with open hearts, little fanfare and no air of self-importance. You are true followers of Christ. Please keep it up.

  2. I am a sponsored child in Kenya and though i met Bob only once, he made a difference in my life (Sept 19th ’13)……he wanted to know my background and how i came to know about CFCA, as i explained, he gained interest and wanted me to talk my dream and how far i am from achieving it. ‘Go go for it, talk it, live it and by this you will keep it in mind (remember) and achieve it’ he said………i told him how difficult life is but he comforted me by saying ‘nothing comes easy my dear……we all struggle but what keeps us strong and living is the one big family (CFCA)’.

    “You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You never know dear, how much I love you. So please don’t take my sunshine away.”

    i dedicate this song to him since God took away a shiny star from us but for sure the Angels are celebrating an additional in their count (Angel). R.I.P Bob you are a hero and a true legend not only to CFCA, but every sponsored child and their families. Bob knew no tribe,no race, no continent and no country he was always joyous played with us and despite his age he was flexible……. ‘we all are human and need each other. We belong to One family CFCA and under One God’ he concluded. I’ll miss you dearly.

  3. We have been out of the country, and just found out about Bob’s journey to heaven. We were so fortunate to have Bob and Cristina with us on our first MAT to Santa Ana, El Salvador. We were privileged to be a part of a Gratitude Celebration in honor of his latest walk. So often, we have told others that we truly felt we had met a saint on earth. Bob has touched and changed so many lives. Thank you, God, for letting us have him for a little while.

  4. R.I.P Bob,I feel he went so soon before I could say Thank You Bob,I first met him in Nanyuki ,Kenya .He played the quitar for us (Sponsored Youths).Although he isn’t physically present his ideas are rooted inside my heart.

  5. I was privileged to meet Bob on a mission awareness trip last January and it was easy to see how much Bob has meant to all the people in the CFCA organization and all the people the organization helps. Although he has passed, he has left a lasting legacy that will continue to make a positive difference in so many people’s lives. My condolences to Cristina and the rest of the Hentzen family. Bob’s memory will live on in all of us.

  6. We began sponsorship of a child about 12 years ago. We did not know much about Bob Hentzen but as God would have it, we came to really know him. In 2007, we went on a Mission trip to Honduras to meet our sponsored child. Not only did we meet our sponsored child but we also got to meet Bob. He showed us how to love the poor and lift their spirits. We sang “You are my Sunshine” along with Bob and the children by their smiles showed us how much joy it gave them. Bob walked the talk and was a living example of God’s love. I thank God for letting Bob cross my path in life. Of course, after a private chat with Bob on that Mission trip, I was inspired to sponsor another child. That child has now become a teacher who helps others aspire to their dreams. Thank you Bob. Our deepest sympathy to Christina, all the family and the staff of CFCA. This is a little late in getting to you as we were away visting family in Italy and just got back to the States on October 22.

  7. Several years ago, I had the privelege of celebrating Holy Week with about 45 other sponsors. We celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper with over 250 sponsored children and their families in both English and Spanish. Bob and one of the other sponsors provided the music. It was a Holy Week I will never forget. I was richly blessed by the experience.

  8. WALK
    walk, and wear a pair of sandals,
    Walk, and carry his guitar on his shoulder,
    Walk, and have a dream in the soul,
    carried in the saddlebag hope
    brings peace in his voice.

    He Walks, and the sun warms your back
    He walks, and carries his faith in his eyes,
    He walks putting his trust in God
    carrying everywhere he goes
    the echo of a song.

    May your steps stay not only on earth
    May we stay with your footprints
    within the heart … (BIS)

    You find people who are still fighting,
    eyes, faces and bare feet,
    their laughter encourage your steps,
    comforting your fatigue,
    prophet, friend and singer.

    You walk and we feel you close,
    You tell us we are not alone or forgotten
    your giving your life step by step
    for a united world
    you give your heart.

    Your singing, dissipates the shadows,
    your steps, are driving the history (o the story),
    in every family life is reborn
    healing many wounds
    opening the way to love.

    Life is discovering the meaning,
    dreams are leading the way,
    The valleys, coffee plantations, rivers
    each path is a witness,
    of this road of love.

  9. I just discovered the news of Bob’s death. It jolted my heart. In my 81 years he was one of the most memorable people I’ve known. I first me him as part of a small group of journalists visiting CFCA projects in Guatemala about 20 years ago. It took a few days traveling with him and watching him with the people to realize the genuine depth of his commitment to walking with the poor. I couldn’t leave that visit without becoming a sponsor myself. I pray that his courageous, humble spirit never leaves CFCA.

  10. Oh, Bob, I wish we could have had you in this world for a bit longer….But, sadly, it was not to be. You have been such an inspiration to everyone you have encountered, whether they be sponsors or sponsored!
    We went with you and Cristina to meet our sponsored friend in Honduras in 2009, and we are forever changed in ways too numerous to say in this small posting. To my family and me, you are a true hero, and you embody the spirit of what Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” You have been Christ-like to anyone you meet, and, therefore, you have given your life meaning beyond the bonds of this world!
    And yet, the humility with which you have carried out your actions has made them that much more special and instructive to those of us born in the digital age. You used technology to spread a message of love and empowerment to the marginalized, rather than to make yourself look like a hero. You will survive forever in our hearts!
    Love to you and Cristina and to all of us you are mourning your death….
    Kathy, John, Jess and Joel Cvetko

  11. We met Bob Hentzen in 2005 in Columbia. This was the first time Columbia
    let us travel on a Mission Awareness Trip. We assembled in one big room and Bob Hentzen told us about the Mission and the three cities we will be going to. We enjoyed
    his music while we were there. Everyone was so excited to see us the sponsors of the
    Columbian children and aged. We were treated as celebreties at each place we attended.
    I was sad to hear that Bob died . My prayers go out to the family of Bob and his sponsors.

  12. Dear Bob
    We believe you are in heaven and visioning the fruits of your love for the less fortunate and poor of the third world children and the aged ones.you are the sign of simplicity and compassionate in today’s world.you are the role model to the society .you made many people all over the world to live a dignified life for both the sponsor and the beneficiary.
    I thank God for the gift of Bob Hentzen and I appreciate the team of CFCA to keep the vision .May God Bless You Bob.
    Br Pancras SHJ
    CRI Brothers Institute

  13. In meeting Bob, I believe that I met a Saint. He redefined the meaning of a “self actualized man.” I met him at the 2012 Dominican Republic MAT, and we immediately knew that we’d be friends. I saw Bob on four occasions in the past 18 months but it seems that I knew him all my life. Bob was all that is good about human beings, the standard for all to strive towards. He will live through all of us who carry on his spirit in the CFCA family. I am deeply humbled and honored that he considered me as his friend. He and his lovely wife, Christina, were two of my, and my wife’s, most favorite persons. Our hearts go out to Christina. God bless you Bob, I know that you are in a very good place now.
    Our love,
    Bill and Rosa Homolka, New York
    Sponsors in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Chile

  14. I first met Bob on one of the early MAT trips to Guatemala twenty years or so ago. At that time I declared him to be one of my most admired people of all time. In 2012, on a MAT to Kenya/Uganda, Bob was with us with his cheerful smile and his guitar and songs. I feel as though he was a personal friend and will cherish the photo of myself with him in Africa. He is now “walking with God,” and will be sorely missed! To honor him I plan to sponsor another child this year!!

  15. My sister Sharon and I had the privilege of making 3 Mission Awareness Trips. One of them was to Guatemala at the end of the year. In addition to all the inspiring events of the MAT, I remember New Year’s Eve– Bob playing his guitar and singing, dedicated to his wonderful wife Cristina, “She’s a Good Hearted Woman in love with a Good Timing Man.” Oh, the joy Bob brought to the world. I feel sure he’s singing “A Poor Child’s Smile” to the angels right now! RIP, Bob–and many, many thanks.

  16. I best remember Bob as he stood at the ambo at the 6 a.m. mass in the church in Guatemala asking for families to invite volunteers into their homes for breakfast. He was such a giant of a man in many ways. The last night of our mission trip to Guatemala was when we all had to perform something. Bob played his guitar and sang, some of the Jesuit priests did a funny skit, my now deceased husband George and I did a ‘performance’ with the children. Everyone had a wonderful time. It was Bob’s way of letting each of us realize that we all had some kind of talent. May he rest in peace. Amen.

  17. I was fortunate to meet Bob recently at the Rise and Dream screening in Brooklyn. I’m so glad I got to sit and talk with him. Sponsorship has truly been a gift. I’m grateful to Bob for being such a positive force and changing the lives of so many. His power of example lives on. My heart goes out to all of his loved ones.
    Thank you, Bob

    Maura Lynch

  18. I saw Bob when in the year 2011. He visited to India to celebrate the sponsor day in Chennai. He was a very enjoyable man. He sang lots of songs with his Guitar. What a wonderful moment I amazed with him is : When everybody asked him to provide gift for children, he kept his hand on the children’s head and pray for each and every one of them.
    But the truth is he had never seen as before. But he prayed as his own children.
    I miss you Bob.

  19. For eight years, our knights of Columbus Council adopted a child and then another. We got more out of this than we put into it. And though I don’t know Bob, I read much about him here on the website and admired him much. He lived the Beatitudes….may we follow in his footsteps!

  20. Bob truly will be missed. May God watch over him now and let him rest.(although, he is probably walking in Heaven!) I had the priveledge of meeting Bob on the first Bolivia trip. I was amazed at his kindness and compassion for his cause. He had a smile on his face everyday. He listened to the families we visited with such concern. I will miss him dearly. May God help Christina to be strong.

  21. It was Sept.27,2013 first time i met Bob not knowing it will be the last time i will see him.
    He was sitting across my table having his dinner and telling me how he was so thankful for our hospitality. I touch his hand and he made a joke and say go ahead maybe it will be last time you will feel my warm hand. I even told him i want to do a Autobiography of his life and he said yes please i was kidding around. But the truth i was fascinated on his life story. That night he was telling me and Fr. Jed Sumangpong his life journey, then i found out he was gone. I know he is in a better hand. MAY HE REST AND PEACE.

  22. My wife and I first met Bob Hentzen and his beautiful wife Christina on our first trip to Costa Rica in 2010. We were so taken by his deep passion, love and devotion to all the CFCA sponsored friends, families and sponsors and the love returned by all, it was truly a life changing and humbling experience. Our thoughts, prayers and love go to Bob and his entire family knowing that he dedicated his life to helping the poor and I will always remember his great personality, charm, charisma and warm heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
    Richard & Patricia

  23. May you rest in peace dear Bob, in the loving arms of Jesus… Thank you for showing us how to live according to the Gospel..

  24. Todos sabemos que venimos de la tierra y regresamos a ella, se ha ido nuestro amigo ROBERT HENTZEN. Aunque él no esté físicamente con nosotros siempre estará en nuestros corazones porque el vivirá en todas sus obras y proyectos que de alguna manera empezó en todos los rincones del mundo, una de ellas es el sub-proyecto Yajalon ubicado en la zona norte del estado de Chiapas, México.

    Yo tenía pendiente escribirle una carta para saber como estaba de salud y saber de su familia, pero ya no me dio tiempo, se nos adelantó.

    Mis condolencias a todas las personas de CFCA y en especial a su esposa Cristina y su hijo Jacobo. Estamos con ustedes y compartimos el dolor por la perdida de un gran señor visionario que hizo crecer un proyecto capaz de involucrar y ayudar a mucha gente necesitada en el mundo.

    ¡Animo con el proyecto internacional de CFCA para seguir cambiando mas vidas!.


    Saludos a toda la comunidad de CFCA. Estamos con ustedes.

    Carlos Hernández.

  25. Bob Hentzen was a great man.He is a living saint and a true soldier of the poor.He is a very simple and very gentle man. His walk boosted and encouraged so many thousands and thousands of poor people.When i heard the death of Bob, it is a great shock for me.We need people like Bob to this world.He had run the race successfully in this world.I miss Bob very much.Bob I love you so much and you are a great inspiration to me.Though you are physically away, your spirit is with us to move forward.Without you everything seems to be empty. The world misses great personality like Bob. I express my hearty condolences to his wife Christina,his children,relatives,all his grand children,nieces ,nephews,Paul and all the CFCA family throughout the world.I feel God is in so hurry to take Bob..May be he wants him in his paradise. I do believe God might have embraced him and crowned him for all the wonderful things he had done on this earth. May his soul rest in peace. Miss you so much Bob and great loss for CFCA.

  26. Le doy gracias a Dios por haber tenido la oportunidad de conocer a Bob, tan solo hace 3 meses en Nicaragua. Su energía y entusiasmo para conseguir más padrinos eran admirables. El amor con que atendía a todos los que se le acercaban era digno de imitar. Mis condolencias a todas las personas de CFCA y en especial a su esposa Cristina. Necesitamos más personas como Bob, que nos ayuden a crecer en solidaridad y amor a todos por igual. Desde la Casa del Padre, Bob seguirá cantando e intercediendo por todos los que luchan sin perder la esperanza de poder dar un mejor futuro a su familia y a su comunidad. Descanse en paz, querido Bob!

  27. May Bob Hentzen rest in peace and his amazing work live on to inspire others to practice the unbelievable compassion that he’s shown so many. His legacy is one for the ages…! Jim and Jennifer S.

  28. When I met Bob about 10 years ago I was struck by his energy, his passion, and the love he had for Guatemala and its people. It was so inspiring to listen to him speak about “walking with the poor”. Those he helped loved him back and the children would run to him and hug him and called him Don Roberto.

    Bob would play his guitar and sings songs he had written about the children of the world. The songs were at once sad and uplifting and they made you want to help. He inspired you to do more and you did it willingly and with love.

    Bob will be sorely missed, but I know he will still be inspiring others to carry on his mission to “walk with the poor”.

    Karlyn Distler

  29. We did not have the privilege to know Bob Hentzen personally. However, we had great admiration for his efforts to unite the countries through his long trek. It is not easy to walk so far and so long as we well know and only dedication to CFCA allowed Bob to find the energy for each day. His love of people and of our Lord stands as the best witness any can find for a life well-lived. Now, Bob, enjoy the fruits of your many labors as we try to continue the mission of CFCA. Pray for us.

  30. May the peace of God be with you always and know that you have left a “footprint” for others to follow. We are so, so sorry that you have left us BUT we know that GOD has a better and bigger plan for you in heaven. May HE bless you as you have done so much for so many…..including us. Thank you and may the Spirit of God be always with you. Steven and Theresa Howard, Tambor de Alajuela, Costa RIca

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