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May 26, 2020

Father Joseph C. Carolin

Father Joseph C. Carolin, 79, of Chambersburg, passed away on Saturday, April 11, 2020, in the Chambersburg Hospital.

Born on Nov. 15, 1940, in Conshohocken, Pa., he was the son of Joseph and Mary Keller Carolin. An only child, he grew up in Lemoyne and graduated from Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg. After earning his B.A. from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1962, he continued his studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., and was ordained on April 30, 1966, as a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg. In 1974 he earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, and a 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 arrived at 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 in Washington, D.C. 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.” 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.

Private interment was in St. Anthony’s Parish Cemetery at Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmittsburg, Md. A Mass of Christian Burial will be planned at a future date.

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