On June 8, 1934, he was ordained to Priesthood of Jesus Christ. He celebrated his first Mass at his childhood parish St. Elizabeth Church in Baltimore on June 10th. Father Philbin's first appointment was as assistant priest to Msgr. Lyons at St. Paul's in Jacksonville, Florida, remaining there for nine years. He was also Superintendent of Schools for a number of years. After his ordination Fr. Philbin accompanied the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Baltimore on a trip to Europe. This was his second voyage abroad. Two years later his mother, Sarah Egleston Philbin passed away in Jacksonville. Prior to his enlistment in the Navy in 1943, Fr. Philbin studied at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.  He was assisgned as Chaplain in the Marine Corps and was sent to the South Pacific with headquarters at Guam. He was discharged in 1946. 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 17, 1903, the youngest of eight children of Sarah Egleston and Charles Philbin. He was baptized by the name of Romuald Egleston Philbin. His home parish was St. Elizabeth Church. His father died when he was six years old and the family moved to Washington, D.C. - later moved back to Baltimore to Blessed Sacrament Parish.

He attended St. Charles Prep School for two years in Catonsville, Maryland, then attended Loyola School. At the age of sixteen he worked his way to Europe on a boat. He later enter the seminary at Mount St. Mary's at Emmetsburg, from which he graduated with high honors. According to Father Louis Phillips of Ironton, Ohio, a very close friend, "It was no use of competing for every honor. Every medal and every prize went to the R. E. Philbin." He was most interested in dramatics.

In 1926, his mother moved to Florida. Knowing he had a vocation to the Priesthood and expected to enter the seminary. The Bishop of St. Augustine at the time, adopted him for his Diocese.

 
On June 8, 1934, he was ordained to Priesthood of Jesus Christ. He celebrated his first Mass at his childhood parish St. Elizabeth Church in Baltimore on June 10th. Father Philbin's first appointment was as assistant priest to Msgr. Lyons at St. Paul's in Jacksonville, Florida, remaining there for nine years. He was also Superintendent of Schools for a number of years. After his ordination Fr. Philbin accompanied the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Baltimore on a trip to Europe. This was his second voyage abroad. Two years later his mother, Sarah Egleston Philbin passed away in Jacksonville. Prior to his enlistment in the Navy in 1943, Fr. Philbin studied at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.  He was assisgned as Chaplain in the Marine Corps and was sent to the South Pacific with headquarters at Guam. He was discharged in 1946.​

The number of prospective families grew by late summer and on Sunday, September 29, 1946, coinciding with the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the first community Sunday Mass of the forthcoming parish was celebrated at Miami Senior High School's Auditorium. The Dade County Board of Instructions gave its approval and those who attended the services that Sunday were asked to sign registration cards at the conclusion of the liturgy. On that Sunday's Mass, the first collection in the history of the forming parish was taken. It netted $212.95 from an attendance count of 307 men, women, and children.   

 By the spring of 1947, the most imperative concern among parishioners was the incertitude of whether or not a church building would ever be built for the celebration of daily, and Sunday masses. The auditorium at Miami Senior High School proved to number of parish members, and a newly formed Methodist Church was also using the premises for their congregation's services. Even though cooperation between both groups was commendable, the lack of space and the need for a place to call "home," became a priority.  Additionally, St. Joseph Villa's administrators informed Fr. Phibin that the facility could no longer accommodate the liturgical practices and the group was asked to move their rehearsals to the homes of parishioners.  

He came back to Msgr. Lyons, his former pastor, in Jacksonville after his discharge from the Marine Corps. The latter part of August, 1946, His Grace, Archbishop Hurley assigned Fr. Philbin to the task of making a survey for a new parish in Miami. It was not long until the first mass was celebrated by Father in the Auditorium of Miami Senior High School, on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, September 29, 1946.  

 When Fr. Philbin arrived in Miami back in 1946. He began immediately recruiting Catholic men and woman with whom he organized different action groups that conducted surveys, censuses of families in the area, and prepared the road for the establishment of a new parish. Little did anyone know that, "The parish Under Survey," or, "The Church On Flagler Street," as the prospective parish was known at the time, would someday blossom into an active, dynamic congregation, born from the effort and dedication of this young priest, as well as the loyalties of a consecrated group of people who joined hands for such a worthwhile cause.  

 A contagious fever had infected the Catholic population living in the area west of N.W. 27th avenue and Flagler Street. It was the fever of organizing a new parish. From Fr. Philbin's basement apartment, men and women of the area departed every afternoon to visit the homes of the locality to talk to the neighbors, signing up prospective parishioners and spending the word that a new Catholic parish was in the works. "Fr. Philbin was a born leader, a handsome man full of energy whose brio and drive were second to none," remembers Thelma LeDuc, who helped conduct the preformative censuses and surveys, and herself, another founding member of the parish. "Without Fr. Philbin, our parish would have never come to exist," she assures.

Fr. Philbin knew that the new parish needed its own place where it could develop its potential and reach its goals. But, the economic situation of the area was an unsurmountable obstacle. Almost two years after the end of the war, building supplies were still very scarce, the new parish's coffers were nearly empty and it appeared that it would be a long while before the parishioners would have the resources with which to build a church.  

"Fr. Philbin always found an answer to the problems he faced. He was a man who was ahead of his times, a great troubleshooter," said Mr. Henry Koibu, a long time friend of Fr. Philbin. And true to his nature of being a good problem solver, Fr. Philbin came up with an answer to the predicament of not having a church building in a most unexpected way! 


MSGR. ROMUALD E. PHILBIN

 FOUNDER OF ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 17, 1903, the youngest of eight children of Sarah Egleston and Charles Philbin. He was baptized by the name of Romuald Egleston Philbin. His home parish was St. Elizabeth Church. His father died when he was six years old and the family moved to Washington, D.C. - later moved back to Baltimore to Blessed Sacrament Parish.
He attended St. Charles Prep School for two years in Catonsville, Maryland, then attended Loyola School. At the age of sixteen he worked his way to Europe on a boat. He later enter the seminary at Mount St. Mary's at Emmetsburg, from which he graduated with high honors. According to Father Louis Phillips of Ironton, Ohio,

a very close friend, "It was no use of competing for every honor. Every medal and every prize went to the R. E. Philbin." He was most interested in dramatics.
In 1926, his mother moved to Florida. Knowing he had a vocation to the Priesthood and expected to enter the seminary. The Bishop of St. Augustine at the time, adopted him for his Diocese.
​​

​​St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church & School    

2987 West Flagler Street,  Miami FL 33135    

Ph: (305) 649-1811   Email: egonzalez@stmacs.org