John A. McErlain, O.S.A.

1868 – 1935 (September 6)

John Augustine McErlain, son of John McErlain and Ellen Madden, was born in Belfast, Ireland on June 19, 1868. He came to the United States with his family and entered the novitiate at Villanova, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1889. He professed simple vows on February 6, 1890 and solemn vows on February 11, 1893. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Patrick Ryan in the Philadelphia Cathedral on May 27, 1893.

After ordination, Father McErlain was stationed at Bryn Mawr and Villanova, PA. In 1902, he went with Father O’Mahony to the Philippine Islands where he served for three years. In 1905 he was assigned to Saint Laurence Parish, Lawrence. MA., and then at Saint Mary, Waterford, New York. In 1912, he returned to the Philippines where he served for the next 10 years, undertaking significant initiatives for the education of the young. His attempts to procure addition friars to minister in the Philippines unfortuantely did not meet with success. In 1922, Father McErlain was appointed prior of Malvern Preparatory School. As prior, he built the first school building at Malvern.Father McErlain also served at Saint Paul’s, Mechanicville, N.Y. He was rector of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and later at Saint Augustine’s in Philadelphia, Pa.; prior  at Holy Rosary in Lawrence and rector of Saint Augustine’s in Andover, Massachusetts.

He died in Lowell, MA., on September 7, 1935 at the age of 67. A Requiem Mass was celebrated at Saint Augustine, Andover of September 9th by Prior Provincial, Mortimer Sullivan. The Funeral Mass was celebrated the following day at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, Bryn Mawr, by Assistant General Joseph Hickey. Father McErlain is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.