Rev. Michael D. Whalen at St. John's podium

Remembering Rev. Michael D. Whalen, C.M.

Memorial Service (Virtual)

Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021

Time: 7 p.m. EST

Password: Memoriam

Sponsored by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Join us in a remembrance of Fr. Whalen by some of those who knew him as a priest, teacher, and colleague. Opportunity for sharing to follow the program.

Scholarship Information

Rev. Michael D. Whalen, C.M. Scholarship Fund

Remember Fr. Whalen by supporting the students to whom he was so dedicated. The scholarship will benefit undergraduate Theology & Religious Studies majors and/or graduate students in our Master of Arts in Theology program. Every dollar contributed to the fund will go to supporting students. 

My first graduate class at St John’s was Fr Whalen’s Roman Missal class. He introduced to new views of studying liturgy and pastoral theology. He showed great love for theology and his students. I will never forget his stories of his life as a Vincentian priest and his love for St Francis. –Christian Rada, Class of 2013

"To be brutally honest,...." This phrase always preceded some of the most insightful interpretations of Sacred Scripture or Catholic liturgical/devotional tradition I have ever heard. He was a true liturgical theologian: exploring the meeting place of theology and the seasons of our lives. We were better people when we listened and joined him on his journey. –Aidan Rooney, C.M., Class of 1978

I took several courses with Fr. Whalen on both the undergraduate and graduate level courses. I oftentimes would tell friends, other students, and people outside the university about how his classes. He expertly taught the theology of whatever topic the course was covering, but more importantly, he would speak on life lessons on how to be a good Christian, how to live out our individual vocations, and how to truly show love for others. One "footnote" he was known for saying in class is that when in doubt, "err on the side of mercy." This mentality is something that I carry with me as an educator, as a daughter and sister, and in general as a person of faith. I'm thankful for all of the many gifts of wisdom and knowledge he gave me that I could apply both in the classroom, but also try to live out in my everyday life. –Rose Haslbauer

Mike Whalen was one of the most generous and likable people I have ever known. I enjoyed his preaching which I would watch via You Tube from the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia, his hometown. We had some interesting discussions about the Wanamaker organ in Center City. I took his class on the Liturgical Year and the Liturgy of the Hours. His knowledge was deep, but his approach was down to earth. I will always miss him but will have fond memories. –Douglas Blaine

A former colleague of mine who once gave a retreat with Father Mike Whalen aptly described him as a storyteller in his homilies . . . but always with a deep-seated and often unspoken message of faith in mind. My experience as well! One particular story, as I recollect, was a real life-event when he was a young priest and was assigned as chaplain at a hospital in Philadelphia. He brought the Eucharist to a man who had AIDS. The protocol in hospitals was severe at that time, as we all know about in this present Covid age. Father Whalen was required to dress in mask and gown. The man lived a relatively solitary existence in that hospital room. Father Whalen went to bring him communion and recounted that the man started to cry about his experience of isolation and lack of human contact. Father Whalen listened and after a few minutes decided to sit down and hold the man's hand while he cried. The story reminded me that faith provides the opportunity to see more than what we are looking at. –Al D’Anca