Rev. James F. Larkin, CSV, died in Tempe, Arizona, on Thursday, February 20, 1986. He died at the age of 73, just four days short of his 47th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.
Born on August 25, 1912 in Towanda, Iliinois, James Francis Larkin was the son of John and Mary Ann Larkin. Frank Larkin grew up in the Bloomington area in downstate Illinois.
In 1928 he graduated from Trinity High School in Bloomington and then proceeded to St. Viator College to earn his degree in English in 1932. Frank entered the Viatorian Novitiate on August 6, 1934 under the direction of Father James Rheams. On September 9, 1935, Brother James F. Larkin pronounced his first vows as a Viatorian. After four years of theological studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Frank was ordained to the priesthood on February 24, 1939.
1939 marked the first of many years that Frank spent in the classroom. He taught for one year at St. Phillip High School in Chicago. After graduate studies at the University of Iliinois in Urbana, Frank earned his Ph.D. in English Literature in 1942. He taught at DePaul University in Chicago from 1942-1947. In 1948 he spent the year as an Instructor at Barat College. Returning to DePaul in 1949, Frank spent the next thirty years as a Professor of English at DePaul University.
From 1949-1951, he also served as Assistant Provincial for the Chicago Province. During those years, his residences included the Central Park house, Sheridan Road and Pratt Avenue residence.
Scholarship, research and writing were an integral part of Father Larkin’s professional life. He spent considerable time in England doing research and writing over the years. His major publications included Tudor Royal Proclamations and Stuart Royal Publications. Respected in his profession as a scholar in these areas, Frank’s works were regarded as definitive in the areas of Tudor and Stuart royal proclamations and history.
After his retirement from DePaul, Father Larkin took up residence at the Province Center in Arlington Heights. While bothered by poor health in his later years, Frank discovered an entirely new ministry in his relationship with the members of the City of the Lord, a charismatic Christian community in Tempe, Arizona. Father Larkin would spend the winter months in Tempe and was welcomed as a member of the community. He was loved and regarded as a unique blessing and grace by the members of the charismatic community. The outpouring of love and respect at a wake service held for Frank in Tempe serves as testimony of the respect and care people had for him. He was regarded almost as a “grandfather” priest to the young and old of the community.
The Province was blessed by the life and ministry of James Francis Larkin for over fifty years. We now commend him to the Lord and pray for the eternal repose of his soul.
Taken from the Viatorian Newsletter, February 1986, No. 616, p. 1