Fr. Robert Susann Honored

Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, Father Robert Susann, M.S., Diocese of Orlando airport chaplain, was honored by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) on December 4, 2013, for his years of dedication, service and ministry to the more than 35 million travelers, visitors and 17,000 employees of the Orlando International Airport. The GOAA presented him with the resolution and declared the day “Father Susann Day,” before a standing-room-only audience.

Fr. Robert Susann, M.S., Airport Chaplain
for Orlando International Airport, speaking
at the meeting of the Greater Orlando
Aviation Authority (GOAA)

“Fr. Susann is the very first person I met when I walked into this room for the first time as a Board member,” said Frank Kruppenbacher, chairman of the GOAA Board. “This kind gentleman came up to me and said, ‘Hi, I am Father Susann and if there is anything I can do for you or anyone at the airport, I am here.’ I have never forgotten that, Father. I think it is your hallmark just how open you are to the human spirit.”

The resolution spoke in part of Father Susann’s contributions to the airport community throughout the past nine years. Father Susann was named chaplain at Orlando International Airport in 2004 as part of the diocesan Tourism Ministry, which is dedicated to sustaining the spiritual well being of millions of airport patrons every year. He is known throughout the airport community and is recognized for his constant presence providing comfort, guidance and reassurance to people of all faiths, through his visibility, accessibility, and humanity.

In addition, the resolution reads, Father Susann’s daily sharing of blessings, and contributions and small kindnesses, help impart a sense of serenity to ease the stresses of travel, as he remains committed to his calling to make a difference in the world by ministering at the airport, where the world’s diversity of nationalities, cultures, and beliefs is represented as part of the global congregation.


Fr. Susann is presented by the Board of Directors of the Greater Orlando
Airport Aviation Authority with a testimony to his excellence in serving
the travellers at Orlando International Airport over the past nine years.

“He has truly built a community of faith,” Kruppenbacher added.

As he humbly accepted the award, Father Susann gave a glimpse of what he does as an airport chaplain. “I welcome the traveler, and give hope where hope is needed,” he said, adding that more importantly, he strives to be a servant of God. “As the prophet Micah says to all of us, ‘love tenderly, and walk humbly with God.’”

A testimony from Most Rev. John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando, Florida:

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

A simple “yes” from a commoner, a young person. A simple “yes” from a person of faith. Our world is changed.

Most Rev. John Noonan,
Bishop of Orlando, Florida

When I meet you, I am also inspired by your ‘yes’, by your faith to serve the Lord. Your stories of difficulty, of love, of beauty, of fear, of surrender are, in so many ways, an echo of Mary’s yes, as Christ’s first disciple. We have been preparing for the coming of the Lord this Advent season. Our preparations have not been easy. We may have felt the burden of time, the rush of too many gatherings, the pressure of arrival. We may have felt distracted in our preparations with fear of a recent diagnosis or the loss of a family member. We may have lost employment and urgently wonder about the care of our family.

Yet, our preparation is our daily living filled with our blessings and struggles. Each one of us shares in the story of this birth of the child, Emmanuel. As Mary holds the baby for all to see, she is saying to us, He came for you. We are called to take the child, to hold Him close and to love Him with all our heart. No one is left out from this invitation, no matter our perceived worthiness.

Recently, and as you have read in this issue of the Florida Catholic, Father Robert Susann, M.S., was honored by the Board of Directors of the Greater Orlando Airport Aviation Authority for his ministry as an airport chaplain since 2005.

Father Susann, as a priest of the Missionaries of La Salette religious order, is to spread the ministry of reconciliation. He is a beacon of light to 35 million travelers annually who visit or depart Orlando, helping them to reconcile hurts of the spirit. Father Susann also serves as spiritual advisor and ministers to the airport’s 17,000 employees and serves as God’s arm of hospitality to each individual.

As Father Susann spoke after having been recognized, he said, “Many people ask what an airport chaplain does.” Father Susann continued and said, “Everyone has a story to tell.” He spoke about ministering to airport employees who experienced the death of a co-worker to sitting with a traveler whose flight was delayed due to inclement weather. He ended his short acknowledgement, “I welcome the traveler, and give hope where hope is needed. As the prophet Micah says to all of us, ‘love tenderly and walk humbly with God.”

Father Susann is an example of a man of faith who said “yes” to an extraordinary call. A simple “yes” from a person of faith. Our world is changed. How are you changing the world?

(Used with permission of The Florida Catholic)