Rev. Joseph Carolin

Rev. Joseph C. Carolin

Friday, November 15th, 1940 - Saturday, April 11th, 2020
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The Rev. Joseph C. Carolin, 79, of Chambersburg, passed away on Saturday, April 11, 2020 in the Chambersburg Hospital. Born on November 15, 1940, in Conshohocken, PA, he was a son of Joseph and Mary Keller Carolin. An only child, he grew up in Lemoyne and graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School. After earning his B.A. from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1962, he continued his studies at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD and was ordained on April 30, 1966 as a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA. In 1974 he earned the Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Ph.D. in 1980. He also studied Bowen Family Theory at Georgetown University. Later, he did post-graduate work at Oxford, Harvard and Louvain University in Belgium.

Father Carolin’s ministry began at Catholic Social Services in Harrisburg, where he served from 1969 to 1978, and was Associate Pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Harrisburg from 1976 to 1978. In 1978, he came to the South Mountain Restoration Center in South Mountain, PA, as Director of the Facility Chaplaincy Program; he retired as Director in 2003, but continued to serve as the Catholic Chaplain until his death. He was active in many community service organizations, including the area’s Long Term Care Chaplains, Pennsylvania Council of Interchurch Cooperation Chaplaincy Committee, Diocese of Harrisburg Health Care Chaplains, Waynesboro Hospital Ethics Committee, Abraxas Leadership Program, and PA State Chaplaincy Interfaith Advisory Council.

Father Carolin was active in the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, in Washington, DC and a proponent of Dr. Murray Bowen’s theory of family therapy. During the period from 1998 through 2014, he convened a series of conferences on Bowen Theory and Spirituality. He was a valued member of the Bowen Center community and the insights he gained from the theory informed his work and ministry.

To many people who knew and loved him, he was "Father Joe." His support for “the least of these” was unending, and at the South Mountain Restoration Center he instituted innovative programs, such as the in-house televised masses each Sunday and a summer Bible School for residents.

His family would like it known that Father Joe was always a friend—a funny, kind, intelligent, insightful and generous friend. In informal settings, the collar that set him apart from others was off. Amid family and friends, he was usually clad in denim, and ready to exchange jokes and barbs, sometimes throwing his head back in uninhibited laughter before (in recent years) falling asleep on the sofa or chair he occupied. His example taught others how to be better people. In the words of a close friend, “Father Joe was just all about love.” Although his passing leaves an unfillable void, the love he shared will always be there.

Private interment, under the direction of the Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home, Chambersburg, will take place in St. Anthony's Parish Cemetery at Mt. St. Mary University, Emmittsburg, MD. A Mass of Christian Burial will be planned at a future date.
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Service Details

  • Service

    St. Anthony Cemetery
    Address not given
    Emmittsburg, MD
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    A Mass of Christian Burial will be scheduled at a later date.
  • Interment

    St. Anthony Cemetery
    Address not given
    Emmittsburg, MD
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Mary-Ellen (Hare) Hopkins

Posted at 09:11pm
What a wonderful man and priest. We had been friends for a long, long time and will miss him terribly. Joe was so understanding, reliable, funny and great company. Have some very good memories of Joe and his father. He had some really funny stories. Good people. God Bless you, Joe. Now you are home with God and family. We miss you. Rest in peace.

Jeffrey Hare

Posted at 03:25pm
I was blessed to have known "Father Joe" and his dad. Great times with our families and the hike to Ski Round Top waaaay back! Thank you Father Joe for all the great memories!

Sally & Steve Beck

Posted at 07:42pm
With loving memories of "Rev. Joseph Carolin",
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Julie K Smith

Posted at 07:57pm
He was my grandparent's neighbor, family friend and my grandmother (Louise Staley) claimed him as her second son. Even though my family wasn't Catholic, he always had a smile for us and was at all our family celebrations and difficult times. He was there for my husband and I before my husband died. I will miss him dearly.

Karen Wilson

Posted at 08:57pm
Father Carolin would be a fill-in priest occasionally at St. Mark in Greencastle, PA. I always enjoyed his homilies and how he started the Mass with his "short homilies"! Father Carolin was an enjoyable priest and so friendly and nice. He will be truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers to family, friends and colleagues.
Karen Wilson

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