Robert J. Miller, 63, created research office for Phila. Archdiocese

Robert J. Miller
Robert J. Miller
Posted: October 08, 2013

Robert J. Miller, 63, of Elkins Park, who created the Office for Research and Planning in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and ran it for two decades, died Monday, Sept. 30, of cancer at Holy Redeemer Hospice.

In 1990, Dr. Miller devised a system for the handling and collection of data about the archdiocese and drew up training documents so others could use it.

It was a daunting task. The archdiocese had never had an official planning office, and the catchment area for data collection was huge, including parishes, schools, human service agencies, and other groups serving 1.4 million Catholics in the Philadelphia area.

The results attracted attention. In 2003, he was named a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory by Pope John Paul II.

"He was very proud of it," said his wife, the former Charlene Doherty.

Four years later, his office received the Lumen Gentium Award of the Catholic Church's Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development.

The annual award recognizes distinguished pastoral leadership in the use of planning to influence large numbers of people and programs.

Last October, he was given the Rev. Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD, Award for Exemplary Church Research. The award comes from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

In a statement at the time, the Philadelphia Archdiocese praised Dr. Miller for doing groundbreaking work.

"His work here has helped to shape the research and planning of other dioceses across the country," the statement read.

Born in Philadelphia, Dr. Miller graduated from La Salle University with a bachelor's degree in marketing. He earned a master's degree in business administration from Drexel University and a doctorate from Temple University in the field of organizational leadership.

He did postgraduate study in leadership at Harvard University's School of Government in 2001.

He served on the advisory committees of the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia and of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University.

Before joining the archdiocese, Dr. Miller was dean of continuing education at Philadelphia University, for which he established a branch campus in Bucks County and opened the curriculum to part-time students and corporate training programs.

"He was a strong advocate of lifelong education for everyone," his family said in a statement.

He also was a prolific writer, offering guidance on a wide array of topics useful to church leaders.

In addition to his wife of 38 years, Dr. Miller is survived by sons James and John; daughter Noreen Moore; three grandchildren; and a brother.

Services were held Saturday.

Donations may be made to Catholic Relief Services, Attn: Donor Services, Box 17152, Baltimore, Md. 21298.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

 

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