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Father Robert J. Perelli 1949-2022

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Rev. Dr. Robert J. Perelli, CJM, who dedicated his life to serving the underserved, died suddenly Aug. 2, 2022. He was 72.

Rev. Dr. Robert J. Perelli


A graduate of St. John Vianney Seminary, and Christ the King Seminary formerly in East Aurora, Father Perelli was ordained in 1976 at OLV Basilica and said his first Mass at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, Hamburg. He joined the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (Eudist Fathers) in 1987. He also received a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts. For more than 25 years, Father Perelli served as the weekend priest at St. Joseph University Parish in Buffalo where his homilies were relevant and memorable. 

“Father Bob had a wonderful ministry”, said Father Bill Rowland, CJM, United States regional superior of the Eudist Fathers. “His work with families was outstanding and his service to St. Joe’s University for all those years was commendable.” 

Father Perelli was the founder and CEO of the Center for Family Systems Theory, offering consulting services to family-owned businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and communities of faith focused on the understanding of functional and human relationships. He also was the founder and president of the former AIDS Family Services, a leader in providing counseling services and pastoral care to people with or affected by HIV/AIDS.  

Father Perelli was the former vice president for Mission Integration at D’Youville College and also served as campus minister at D’Youville College (now University) and Nardin Academy for many years. He had a deep commitment to volunteer work locally and abroad, having counseled families of children affected by cancer for many years, participating in extended mission trips to developing countries, and most recently finding a new passion volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Father Perelli was predeceased by his father, John J. Perelli, and mother, Carmella D. Martone; and survived by brother of John J. Perelli Jr., sister Camille A. Rozanski; and adored uncle of Katherine Lanning, Kenneth Perelli, Elizabeth Wade, Lauren Molenda, and Jillian Schlieder. 

On Saturday, Aug. 13, a public visitation will be held at St. Joseph University Parish, at 3269 Main St., from 10 a.m. until noon. A funeral Mass will follow at 1 p.m. Please share online condolences at www.lombardofuneralhome.com.

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