Rev. John M. Harkins

Reverend John M. Harkins, on January 30, 2021, age 81, of Philadelphia PA. Dear uncle of Jim (Lisa) Gillespie and the late Marianne Gillespie. Granduncle of Carolyn (the late Michael) Malinowski, James Brian (Ann) Gillespie, Erin R. Gillespie, Thomas W. Gillespie and Sarah G. Gillespie; and great-granduncle to Sean, Bryan and Kevin Gillespie.


Fr. Harkins transferred from his sophomore year in St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Phila. directly to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1965. He earned a Master’s Degree in Theology from Villanova university. He served in various roles in many parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Fr. Harkins began his ministry as Asst. Pastor at St. Stanislaus in Lansdale, and Vocations Director at Lansdale Catholic High School. His next appointment was as Asst. Pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Ambler. He served as a Faculty Member at Bishop McDevitt High School for a period of time, then returned to his position as Asst. Pastor of St. Joseph’s, followed by a tenure as Asst. Pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Philadelphia during which time he also served as Administrator of Holy Redeemer Chinese Catholic Church in Philadelphia. Following that assignment, Fr. Harkins was appointed Pastor of St Michael’s Parish in Philadelphia for 15 years. Prior to his retirement after 55 years of dedication, he last served 14 years as Parochial Vicar at St. Ambrose, in Philadelphia.


Fr. Harkins was highly regarded by his parishioners and beloved by all of the lives he touched. He will be remembered particularly for his incredible gifts of perception, appreciation, kindness, diversity and his deep love of God’s people. He was fluent in multiple languages, had an amazing understanding of Scripture and the ability to convey it; but his real gifts were humility and simplicity.


Relatives and friends are invited to Fr Harkins’ viewing which will be held Friday, February 5, 2021 from 9:00AM to 11:00AM, followed by his Funeral Mass at 11:00am, all at St. Ambrose R.C. Church, 405 E. Roosevelt Blvd, Phila. Burial will be held at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheltenham, PA. The funeral for Fr. Harkins will be live streamed to facebook; the link is:


Please note due to the Covid Pandemic, masks must be worn covering both mouth and nose and social distancing observed. As well, you are asked to refrain from physical expressions of sympathy such as hugging and kissing at this time in order to keep everyone safe.


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