Obituaries, Week of June 25, 2022

Father Michael J. Himes, a retired priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn who was released from Diocesan Assignment and had been a Professor of Theology at Boston College, died on June 10.

Father Himes was born on May 12, 1947, and was ordained to the Priesthood by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero at Saint James Cathedral on May 27, 1972.

He studied at Cathedral Prep Seminary and Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception, Brooklyn, and completed his priestly formation at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington.

After his ordination, Father Himes served as a parochial vicar at Saint Jerome, Flatbush, and St. Luke, Whitestone. After studies at the University of Chicago in the history of Christianity, Father Himes earned his Ph.D. and began a long and illustrative career in academia.

In the course of his lifetime, Father Himes was awarded honorary doctorates from St. Joseph’s College, New York; Sacred Heart University, Connecticut; Molloy College, New York; and Felician College, New Jersey.

In addition, he was the twice-recipient of the Catholic Press Association Book Award for Theology, in 1992 and 1997. In the years 1991 and 1993, the graduating classes of the University of Notre Dame elected Father Himes as the “Most Influential Teacher.”

Assigned to teach at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, Father Himes also served as the Seminary’s academic dean.

In 1987, he began to serve as a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and eventually became a full professor of theology at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Father Himes was an immensely popular professor and lecturer, and was a noted author of several books: “Fullness of Faith: The Public Significance of Theology,” with Kenneth Himes, OFM (his brother); “Johann Sebastian Drey: A Brief Introduction to the Study of Theology” (translation and introduction); “Doing the Truth in Love: Conversations about God, Relationships and Service” (Paulist Press, 1995); “Ongoing Incarnation: Johann Adam Möhler and the Beginnings of Modern Ecclesiology,” New York: Crossroad Herder, 1997; “The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to Catholicism” (which was also a video series used by a large number of RCIA classes in this Diocese and beyond); and was the associate editor of The Harper Encyclopedia of Catholicism.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Tuesday, June 14 at Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The main celebrant was his brother, Father Kenneth Himes, a Franciscan priest and a professor of Moral Theology at Boston College. The homilist was Msgr. John Gilmartin, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish in Centerport, N.Y. Burial services were private.

A memorial Mass was scheduled for Tuesday, June 21 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, N.Y.

Bishop Robert Brennan of the Diocese of Brooklyn was scheduled to be the principal celebrant, with Father Kenneth Himes as the special concelebrant, and Father John Strynkowski as the homilist.

“He will surely be missed,” said Father Strynkowski, a retired priest who has known Father Himes since their days teaching theology at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in the late 1970s.

“For his enthusiasm for the priesthood, for teaching theology, and for the growth of the Church, especially among young people.”

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