November 27, 2023 // Bishop

Father Philip DeVolder, a Retired Priest of the Diocese, Passes Away


Father Philip “Phil” DeVolder of Huntington, formerly the beloved priest serving Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Warsaw, passed away on Friday, November 10, at his residence in Huntington at the age of 70. His priestly ministry lasted more than 40 years.

He was born on February 19, 1953, in Mishawaka. One of three children born to Mary Elizabeth (Geurs) DeVolder and Adolph Basil DeVolder. He is survived by his two brothers, James DeVolder (Port Charlotte, Florida) and Ralph DeVolder (South Bend), and his nephew, Bryon DeVolder (Mishawaka). 

Father Phil found his calling serving the Lord and leading others to Christ through his ministry and love of God. He attended Indiana University South Bend with the intention of becoming a Spanish teacher. The school was not far from his home in Mishawaka, where he grew up and was a parishioner at St. Bavo Catholic Church. He realized that the path to become a Spanish teacher was not for him, so after a year in college, he went to work in a factory. It was during this time he received the call in his heart to go into the priesthood, and with that he attended St. Gregory Seminary in Cincinnati in 1973 and completed his formation at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 1980, he received his degree was ordained a priest.

His first assignment brought him to St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Decatur. Three years later, he was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Fort Wayne, then to St. Stanislaus Kostka in New Carlisle. In 1988, he moved into the central area of the diocese and ministered at Sacred Heart Parish in Warsaw before returning to St. Mary of the Assumption in 1995. His next assignment, almost 11 years later, took him to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Elkhart. He went on to an assignment at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, which brought him back to Warsaw. In 2010, he began to serve at Sacred Heart once more. He moved to residency at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne nine years later. The same year, Father DeVolder was appointed parochial vicar of SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Huntington. He served wherever he was appointed, and after a battle with cancer was declared in remission, he was assigned to a new chaplaincy at Saint Anne Communities at Victory Noll in Huntington. Since this last move, he enjoyed the ability to actively minister to the Saint Anne community. 

Father Phil always greeted everyone with a smile, and even in ill health always had empathy and compassion for others. He dearly enjoyed celebrating Masses and preaching the Gospel, which embodied his genuine love of God.

Father Phil’s funeral Mass was celebrated by Father Matthew Coonan, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend’s Vicar, on Wednesday, November 15, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Warsaw. He was laid to rest at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Mishawaka.

“Father Phil was well-loved at Sacred Heart,” Father Jonathan Norton, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, told Today’s Catholic. “I have heard many stories of those whom he helped to become Catholic and learn about the Faith. He has been praised as a great teacher and a humble man. All of Sacred Heart will miss him.”

Obituary was provided by Redpath-Fruth Funeral Home.

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