On January 25, Father Evan Harkins, a priest at Saint James Catholic Church in St. Joseph, MO, committed suicide by way of gun shot. He was 34 years old.

Father Harkins did not show up to mass that morning and was found dead in his rectory. The St. Joseph police reported to the area because of a shooting-related call.
St. Joseph Bishop James Johnston explained at the priest’s funeral that medicine played a role in the suicidal death. It was drug was meant to help with an eating disorder and anxiety that he had experienced, but also came with extreme negative side-affects.
The bishop said that he does not believe Father Harkins “was in possession of a sound mind when he died earlier this week”.
Father Harkins was ordained in 2010 at age 24, three months before he turned 25, the youngest age to be a priest. He received a dispensation from his bishop to be ordained. A few years later, he became a pastor at St. James a few years later.
He was not only the churches pastor, but also the Chaplain of the Benedictine College Latin Mass Society. Students from Benedictine would attend the Extraordinary Latin mass, a Catholic service said in Latin, on a weekly basis.
Junior Miguel Monteclaro, who altar served with Fr. Harkins several times, said he was in shock when he saw the St. Joseph news about the suicide and really looked up to him.
“There’s a certain charisma or feeling whenever I served with him and he was what inspired me to keep serving mass, Monteclaro said. “He was a good role model of what I wanted to be if I were to be a priest.”
One of Monteclaro’s favorite memories with Father was the reverence he showed, from putting on the vestments to celebrating the mass at church.
“When he would consecrate the host (Eucharist), there was something divine, something beautiful about him, the reverence he showed,” Monteclaro said. “I wanted to come back every Sunday to be a part of it.”
Father Harkins also had a special devotion to St. Francis de Sales and would encourage those from Benedictine who received spiritual direction from him to read about him. Senior Caitlyn Fakult saw how Father would embody the saint, especially in his interactions with them.
“The way he counseled was just very humble and meek, very much like St. Francis de Sales,” Fakult said. “He was very gentle in his approach and really would approaching it with such amazing grace and gentleness.”
He loved being a part of the students lives. He would talk with them after mass a lot and would have fun with the students sometimes, such as going to Chick-Fil-A or having a drink with them.