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1955 - 2019
Father John Phillips, pastor of Holy Faith Parish in Gainesville, and a diocesan leader, died suddenly Sunday morning, Oct. 20. He was 63. The Holy Faith community is mourning his death. He was not only a good shepherd, but he was a great brother, priest, and friend. Father John has blessed those he served with generosity, unfailing loyalty, and a keen sense of humor.
The death of Fr. John Phillips has left us with a terrible loss that will be impossible to fill. His life, however, has left our hearts imprinted with an unforgettable example of the love of Jesus. He was not only a good shepherd; he was a great Father, brother, priest, and friend.
Born in Birmingham, Ala. on Nov. 25, 1955 and was a devoted son to Patricia 'Patti' McGill Phillips and John Morrison Phillips, who both preceded him in death. He is survived by (brother) Brian Phillips, (sister in law) Suzan Phillips and children, (sister) Sheri Britton, and (brother in law) James Britton and children.
Many of his closest friends have known him since he was a student at the University of Florida, graduating in 1978 with a bachelor's of science degree.
To the staff members who had the honor to work for him, he was the best employer you could find. He was a Pastor first, always putting Christ at the center of every decision. He was the perfect depiction of the servant leader. To his fellow priests he was a cherished brother who could always be counted on for support.
Father John Phillips blessed his parishioners in countless ways. He devotedly took care of the facilities, the resources, and the people who served with him. Under his ministry, the campus grew in beauty, and his successful building of the Parish Life Center has become a great source of pride and joy for the community.
Father John's ministry was reminiscent of the Parish Patron, Saint Francis. Beauty, nature, animals, music, art, books and, most of all, the poor were his treasure. He was steadfast in protecting victims of abuse and always kept his heart open for those who were most marginalized. He led the parish to commit financial support to our Sister Parish in Guatemala as well as the Comboni Sisters. Father John took the Holy Scriptures call to serve the poor seriously and challenged all of us to do the same.
When he prayerfully searched for a mission statement for Holy Faith, he decided that because the parish was in the center of Gainesville, it should function as the cities heart. He thus named Holy Faith, the Parish of Compassion.
A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, October 26, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Faith Catholic Church, 747 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville. Bishop Estevez will concelebrate the Mass, and Father John Gillespie will give the homily. The family will receive friends Friday, October 25, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a Vigil Service beginning at 7:00 p.m. with Bishop Felipe Estevez presiding. The rite of committal will be held Saturday afternoon at 3:30, at San Lorenzo Catholic Cemetery in St. Augustine. Father John Gillespie is the celebrant. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Fr. John's memory to Holy Faith Catholic Church, 747 NW 43rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32607. Please visit his memorial page at
Published in Gainesville Sun from Oct. 24 to Oct. 26, 2019
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