Mariologist Father Arthur Burton Calkins Has Passed Away (Update)

Monsignor Arthur Calkins slipped and fell in his carport on 23 January 2024 at approximately 1:15 PM, CST. He was found within 10 minutes.

It was a terrible fall. He was taken to a local hospital and, later that evening, transferred to another facility about 80 miles away with more specialised care.

For the first week, he seemed to be improving but in the end the injury turned out to be more serious than originally thought. Sadly, Monsignor Calkins began to decline rapidly.

On the evening of the Feast of the Presentation, he went into cardiac arrest. He began to bleed from the compressions. The doctors fought for his live. After repeated attempts to resuscitate him, Monsignor Calkins' left this earth to meet the Lord, our creator, redeemer and judge.

Monsignor Arthur B. Calkins was born on 18 April 1945 in Erie, Pennsylvania. His mother was a devout Catholic from a family (Antoni) that had emigrated to the United States from Cologne, Germany. His father was a Protestant and an anti-clerical Freemason. He had a brother and a sister.

Monsignor Calkins was ordained a priest in May 1970 for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, where he served as a parochial vicar in various parishes and was involved in other pastoral activities.

He had come to New Orleans from Erie with the promise of an opportunity to teach, but his hopes did never materialise.

He had a master's degree in theology from the Catholic University of America, a licentiate in sacred theology with a specialisation in Mariology from the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, and a doctorate in the same field from the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St Bonaventure (the Seraphicum) in Rome.

His doctoral supervisor was Father Peter Damian Fehlner, OFMconv (+ 2018). His thesis, summa cum laude, was later published as Totus Tuus. Pope John Paul II's Programme of Marian Consecration and Entrustment" and appeared in a second edition in 2017, a rarity for doctoral dissertations.

Monsignor Calkins was appointed a corresponding member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy in 1985 and a corresponding member of the Pontifical Roman Theological Academy in 1995.

From 1989 to 2010 he was an official of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei". He began working under Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer, who also attended his doctoral defence. The cardinal became a true father figure for Monsignor Calkins, who had mixed experiences with the bishops and cardinals of the Church during his priestly life.

Soon after arriving in Rome, he lived at the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra, where he also had the opportunity to practise the organ. Later he moved to Villa Strich, the residence of the American priest working in the Roman Curia. There he became friends with the future Cardinal Raymond Burke.

In 1995 he celebrated his silver jubilee as a priest in Rome. The future Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Monsignor Peter Elliot, was the Master of Ceremonies. They both used to live at Musica Sacra where the young auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, Monsignor George Pell, who had been appointed a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was a frequent guest.

At Ecclesia Dei, Monsignor Calkins went on to serve under Cardinals Innocenti, Felici, Castrillón and Levada.

In 1997 he was made a monsignor, at the level of chaplain to His Holiness, and in 2010 was promoted to prelate of honour.

In recent years Monsignor Calkins has been involved in the publication of some English translations of the works of Blessed Concepción (Conchita) Cabrera de Armida (1862-1937).

He formally retired from active priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of New Orleans on the first of July 2017, when he took up residence at the vibrant parish of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Sulphur, LA, Diocese of Lake Charles.

For the past six and a half years, he has finally found the "niche" he had been seeking for many years of his priesthood, thanks to his friend, the Very Reverend Edward J. Richard. For Monsignor Calkins, his period in Sulphur was a time of joy: "I am always blessed to share in the pastoral work here," he wrote in his last letter to friends a few weeks ago.

Monsignor Calkins suffered from "the unprecedented period of darkness, confusion and turmoil in the world and, sadly, in the Church", but he was still very active.

The past year in particular has been very busy for him. In January last year he flew to Kansas City, Kansas, for the funeral of his dear friend, Father John Melnick, whom he joined in death only a year later. He preached at his funeral Mass and presided at his final committal at Holy Redeemer Mausoleum.

In March 2023, he flew to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a weekend retreat sponsored by Johnnette Benkovic Williams' "Women of Grace".

At the end of April, he participated via zoom in a retreat day with various Women of Grace leaders from around the country.

In early May, he flew to Birmingham, Alabama to record television programmes for Johnnette's Women of Grace television series at the Eternal Word Television Network [EWTN], founded by Mother Angelica.

He preached at the televised Mass on 5 May and recorded four programmes with Johnnette based on his book Totus Tuus.

In May he flew to Birmingham for a second time for the annual meeting of the Mariological Society of America at the Benedictine Monastery of Cullmann, Alabama, where he gave a talk on "Mary's Active Collaboration in the Work of Redemption".

Also in May, he travelled to Eureka/Arcata, California, in northern California, to speak at the Sacred Liturgy Conference, which has been held in the Pacific Northwest for over a decade. He planned to attend the conference again in 2024.

In September, he was invited to speak at two symposia on the Marian Coredemption held simultaneously: one at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and the other in Dundee, Scotland. He attended the one in Steubenville, Ohio, and spoke to the other via zoom.

In October he gave a talk at "The Holy Spirit Conference" sponsored by the Houston Senatus of the Legion of Mary.

The last flight of his life, also in October, was to Philadelphia for the annual retreat sponsored by the Philadelphia Senatus of the Legion of Mary. It was on this occasion that he met a dear cousin who lived in the area and whom he hadn't seen in over fifty years.

Last year he wrote articles for Missio Immaculatae International, published by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, book reviews and an introduction to the English translation of The True Spirit of the Perpetual Adorers of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar by Mother Mechtilde of the Blessed Sacrament (1614-1698).

"There are two more books waiting for me to translate if I live long enough," he wrote in that January letter: "one about Mother Mechtilde de Bar and another by Conchita, Deo volente. I could still use the services of a secretary and a nanny!"

Monsignor Calkins was the spiritual director of the Parish Presidium and Curia of the Diocese of Lake Charles,

A few days ago he began teaching a fourteen Saturday morning course in Christology and Mariology for permanent deacon candidates and others in Lafayette, Louisiana.

In his own words: "This is exactly the kind of work I had hoped to do some fifty years ago, but the Lord and his Mother had other plans for me!"

May Our Lady, whom he served so faithfully, receive him into her heavenly abode. Requiescat in pace.

Picture below: Monsignor Calkins (third from the left) in his beloved parish of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Sulphur, LA.

Requiem aeternam, dona ei, Domine. 😭 🙏
Fernanda Dellucci shares this
Morte di Mons. Arthur Calkins RIP: sacerdote che ha lavorato per la commissione Ecclesia Dei per quasi 20 anni, dal 1991 al 2010.
Mark Foreman Jr
🙏 A wonderful man. He will be greatly missed. 🙏
Wilma Lopez shares this
RIP - does anybody know the cause of death?
Don Cesare Toscano shares this
Morte di Mons. Arthur Calkins, sacerdote in pensione dell'arcidiocesi di New Orleans che ha lavorato per la commissione Ecclesia Dei per quasi 20 anni, dal 1991 al 2010.
Monsignor Calkins - Letter Concerning the Dogmatic Definition of Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate for the People of God
Library : Letter Concerning the Dogmatic Definition of Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate for the People of God
He also defended the Messages of St. Joseph to Sister Mary Ephrem - visionary of Our Lady of America! 🕊
Eternal rest grant unto him O’Lord..
Liam Ronan "It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." 2 Maccabees 12:46
Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society
Reminder: Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society
Requiescat in pace. 🙏 🙏 🙏