Reverend John F. Harvey, OSFS, 92, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales for 73 years, died on Monday, December 27, 2010, at Union Hospital in Elkton, Maryland.
Fr. Harvey, son of the late Patrick J. and Margaret (Harkins) Harvey was born in Philadelphia in 1918. He attended St. Columba Parish School, and after graduating from Northeast Catholic High School for Boys in 1936, he entered the Oblate Novitiate, making his first profession of vows on September 8, 1937. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1944 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia by the Most. Rev. Hugh Lamb, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.
After earning his bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1941 from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Fr. Harvey continued his studies, earning graduate degrees in psychology and theology, and completed a doctorate in moral theology there 10 years later.
“Fr. Harvey’s commitment to pastoral care in the Church was tireless. Even in his later years, his travel would take him all over the country and world to offer a voice of compassion,” Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS, Oblate provincial said. “His work in helping to found both the DeSales School of Theology and Courage were examples of his commitment to the Church that he loved so much.”
Fr. Harvey’s ministerial assignments following ordination included serving as a teacher at his alma mater, Northeast Catholic High School (1945-1947); graduate student at Catholic University (1947-1951); professor of moral theology at Dunbarton College, Washington, DC (1948-1973); professor of moral theology at the DeSales Hall School of Theology, (1949-1987); president of DeSales Hall School of Theology (1965-1977); and professor of sexual and medical ethics at DeSales University, Center Valley, PA (1987-2009). Father Harvey retired to Annecy Hall, Childs, Maryland in January, 2010.
Fr. Harvey was the founder and national director of Courage, which is a spiritual support group for homosexual women and men. He had been director of Courage since its foundation in 1980 at the request of the late archbishop of New York, Terrence Cardinal Cooke. Courage continues to reach out in the United States, in Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Mexico, Slovakia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines, and New Zealand. Today, there are more than 100 Chapters of Courage worldwide.
Since he began teaching in higher education in 1948, Fr. Harvey has written more than 45 articles in professional theological and psychological journals on questions of human sexuality and counseling. He has addressed the full convention of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on ethics and psychology. He has been interviewed by national media representatives and has lectured abroad in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Guam.
In addition to the members of his religious community, Fr. Harvey is survived by his sister, Margaret Smith, and many nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his siblings, Catherine Egan and James Harvey.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, December 31, at 11:15 AM, at Our Lady of Light Chapel, 1120 Blue Ball Road, Elkton, MD, 21921. Preceding the Mass will be a wake from 9:30 – 11:00 AM, and the interment will follow the Mass. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Oblate Retirement Fund, P.O. box 87, Childs, MD, 21916.