Brother Cosmas's Story

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Brother Cosmas Rubencamp, C.F.X., of Xaverian House in Danvers, died on Friday, May 5, at the Brentwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Danvers.
Born in 1932 as Harry J. Rubencamp in New York City, Brother Cosmas was the son of the late Henry A. and Elizabeth C. (Power) Rubencamp. He received his elementary education in New York and met the Xaverian Brothers at Good Counsel Annex of Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx. He transferred to the St. Joseph Juniorate in Peabody, a preparatory school for young men interested in joining the Xaverian Brothers, and graduated in 1950. He entered the Xaverians that September 19 at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Fortress Monroe, Va., and received the religious habit and the name Cosmas on March 19, 1951. He began his college education at Xaverian College in Silver Spring, Md., in 1952, and received his B.A. in Latin and Greek from the Catholic University of America in 1956, followed by a Master’s and Ph. D. in Theology from the Catholic University.

After graduating from college, Brother Cosmas began his professional career as a member of the faculty of John Bapst High School in Bangor, Maine. Besides his teaching and extracurricular assignments at John Bapst, he taught Greek at the Bangor Theological Seminary, and began graduate studies at the University of Maine in Orono in 1957. In 1958, Brother Cosmas was assigned to the faculty of Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland, for three years, before becoming a Lecturer and Chair of the Religious Studies Department until 1969 at Xaverian College in Silver Spring, Md. He was an assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, from 1968 to 1971, when he became the Director of Campus and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, a position in which he served for 31 years.
In Richmond, Brother Cosmas and his good friend, Fr. William LaFratta served students in an unusually large number of colleges and universities. Under his leadership and coordination, the diocese developed an impressive network of ministries in local campuses and locations, as well as diocesan-wide programs and structures for this critical age group. During these years, Brother Cosmas also became involved with new outreach ministries to vulnerable and under-served populations, including the diocesan Haitian ministry and ministry to sexual minorities. He made innumerable trips to Haiti and was formally made the diocesan Coordinator of Haitian Ministry in 2002. He continued as a volunteer in this ministry after his retirement from the diocesan staff in 2005 until he relocated to Xaverian House.
Besides his Xaverian Brother confreres, Brother Cosmas is survived by his sisters, Bette Rapa and Susan Gilmore, as well as nieces, nephews, former colleagues, friends and students.
Visiting hours for Brother Cosmas will be held on Wednesday, May 10, in the Campus Ministry Center, Xavier Hall at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, from 1 to 3 p.m. The funeral liturgy will be held in the St. John’s Preparatory School Chapel, Administration Building, 72 Spring Street in Danvers, at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, followed immediately by his burial in the Xaverian Brothers Cemetery at St. John’s Preparatory School. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Xaverian Brothers Retirement Fund, 4409 Frederick Ave., Baltimore, MD 21229. Arrangements are by C.R. Lyons & Sons Funeral Directors, 28 Elm St., Danvers, www.LyonsFuneral.com.
Published on  May 8, 2017
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