A funeral Mass for Father Robert L. Banken was celebrated Jan. 1 at Holy Family Church in Port Hudson. Father Banken died Dec. 24. He was 78 years old.
Father Banken was born on Aug. 6, 1943, in Leslie, Missouri. He was baptized at Holy Family in Port Hudson. He later attended St. Louis Prep Seminary South, Cardinal Glennon College, Saint Louis University Divinity School and Kenrick Seminary. Father Banken was ordained to the priesthood on May 11, 1968, by then-Archbishop John J. Carberry.
He served as associate pastor, St. Clement of Rome Parish in Des Peres, 1968-72; associate pastor, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Florissant, 1972-75; and associate pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Washington, 1975-79.
Father Banken was a resident chaplain at St. Mary of the Angels Convent in Richmond Heights, assisting at Barnes Hospital from 1979-89.
He was pastor at St. Francis Borgia Parish in Washington, 1990-94; senior priest in service, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in St. Louis, 1994; and a chaplain with the U.S. Navy Reserves (lieutenant) in Quantico, Virginia from 1994-98.
Father Banken returned to St. Louis, where he was pastor at St. Sebastian Parish in north St. Louis County, 1998-2005, and chaplain for health care centers in the Northeast County Deanery, 2005-06. He was in residence at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Spanish Lake, from 2005-06.
In 2006, he went to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Portage des Sioux, and Immaculate Conception Parish in West Alton, where he served until his retirement in 2018.