When Father Robert Traub was born, Pius X was pope and Woodrow Wilson was president.
“I’m not saying that to make him feel old,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades said at a special Mass held Friday to mark Traub’s 100th birthday.
It’s just history.
Traub was the first of nine children, born in 1913 in Muncie.
“As he was the eldest child in his family, he is now the eldest priest in the diocese, and he may be the eldest priest in the history of the diocese,” Rhoades said.
“I didn’t want to have a private celebration” to mark the day, Rhoades said, “but a public celebration to pray for you."
Traub was ordained as a priest on June 3, 1939, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the same place where his birthday was celebrated. Through his career he served in eight different parishes as a teacher and priest. He retired in 1978, but continued in residence at St. Jude Church for nearly 20 years after that.
He is now a resident at St. Anne Home, where he still conducts Masses and hears confessions.
“The Lord has been his help and hope throughout his life,” Rhoades said. “The Lord has sustained him. The Lord sustains all of us.”
Near the end of the mass, Traub thanked all those who participated in preparing the celebration.
“I’m very grateful for all you’ve done for me and the community,” he told Rhoades.
At a luncheon with priests after the mass, Traub, who is still quick on his feet even though he is 100, cut his birthday cake before digging in to lunch.
After the priests in attendance sang him a hearty happy birthday, one priest asked Traub how to live to be 100.
“Diet,” he said. “Don’t weight much, and I guess what’s in your genes or whatever they call it.”
Asked whether exercise was important, he replied firmly, “Never.”