Father Michael J. Heim, 55, a parochial vicar at St. Dominic Parish in Philadelphia, died May 4.
Born in Levittown, the son of the late William Heim and the late Sophia Rydzewska Heim, he attended St. Joseph the Worker School and Bishop Egan High School before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
He was ordained May 15, 1982 by Cardinal John Krol at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, and his first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Hugh of Cluny Parish. He also served at Incarnation of Our Lord, Visitation B.V.M., St. Stephen and St. Joan of Arc, all in Philadelphia before his assignment to St. Dominic.
The family wasn’t surprised when he entered the seminary, according to his brother, John. He recalls his brother as a man who was friends with everyone and never looked down on anyone.
“He was a Civil War buff and one week we visited ten different battle sites,” he said. “He was chaplain for the 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteer Reenactors, and he would celebrate Mass in Latin for them, and his pallbearers were reenactors in uniform.”
Another avocation was Russian history, and he had a large collection of Russian icons, John Heim said.
Father Heim served at St. Dominic for 12 years, and “he was a hard worker, well loved by the people,” said St. Dominic pastor Father Edward T. Kearns. “He was a good priest and people were drawn to him.”
Another hobby he had was collecting flags, and every day there would be a different one flying from the window of his room to celebrate the various holidays and nationalities, Father Kearns recalled. If he celebrated evening prayer there or a special feast, for example that of St. Dominic, there would be a meal afterward, prepared by Father Heim and some of the parishioners, he said.
Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated Father Heim’s funeral Mass at St. Dominic Church on May 10.
Concelebrants included Msgr. Federico A. Britto, Father Eduardo G. Montero, Father Kearns and Father Herbert J. Sperger, who was the homilist.
“All of us who knew him knows how he hated injustice and yet found humor in the incongruities of life, how passionately he reacted to the tragedies of history and yet labored , invested time and energy in celebrating the times and seasons of living,” Father Sperger said in his homily.
“He reminds all of us of the need for joy in our lives,” he continued, and the enduring value of coming together as family and friends, as Church and community to celebrate the bonds of our life and love.”
In addition to his brother, Father Heim is survived by his sister, Patricia Heim.
Interment was at Holy Trinity/St. Ignatius Cemetery in Yardley.
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