John Phalen

June 14, 1936 – October 5, 2023

The Rev. John Richard Phalen, priest of the diocese of Los Angeles, died Oct. 5. He was 87.

Phalen was an interim priest at several congregations of the diocese, and in recent years has often served at St. Gabriel’s Church, Monterey Park, founded in 1983 as a ministry to Chinese Episcopalians.

Service arrangements are pending.

Phalen was born on June 14, 1936 in Eden, New York. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1958 from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and a master of divinity from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in 1962. He also studied at General Seminary, the University of California, and San Francisco Theological School.

He was ordained to the diaconate in 1962 and to the priesthood the following year. In addition to his lifelong interest in theological education and his work as an interim priest and a U.S. Air Force chaplain (1964 – 1967), Phalen was the author of several plays, screenplays and published poems.  He was married in 2000 to Sherry Tao Sha, a native of China. The couple had two children.