Fr. John Melnick, known in Religion as Fr. John Stone of the Holy Cross, was born on February 28th, 1960 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada.
While in college, Fr John was invited by a friend to visit a monastery in Nova Scotia. Continual visits to Monastery, Nova Scotia awakened in him an awareness of a restlessness in his heart that could only be satisfied by a life seeking intimacy and union with Our Lord. Fr. John entered the Order of St. Augustine and completed his Novitiate in Monastery, NS, taking his Religious name from St. John Stone, OSA, a martyr of the English Reformation, making his First Profession on August 13, 1983. He made his Solemn Profession on May 13th, 1986, was ordained a Deacon on May 16th, 1986, and ordained a Priest of Jesus Christ on June 14th, 1986 by Bishop Robert Clune.
The Order of Saint Augustine sent Fr. John to Rome in 1988 to study at the Pontifical College of St. Thomas Aquinas to prepare for future assignments as theology professor, Novice Master, Prior, and Seminary Rector. While in Rome, he was hired by Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer to work for the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. He returned to Canada in late 1989, and in 1993 became Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Toronto and served simultaneously on the faculty of St. Augustine’s Seminary.
In 1996, Fr. John began teaching at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Elmhurst, PA for the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), and served as acting-Rector for a time. It was during this time that he met Br. Tom Akers and Fr. Peter Jaramillo, founders of the Society of St. Augustine, a new Religious community erected in Amarillo, TX born from the Order of Saint Augustine Recollects (OAR) in Kansas City, KS.
Because Rome was skeptical of a pastoral need for the Traditional Latin Mass in the United States, Ecclesia Dei and the Fraternity of St. Peter needed to inform Rome of how many locations there were throughout the United States of Traditional Latin Masses offered by priests who were not in full communion with Rome, and how many faithful attended these illicit Masses. Fr. John was assigned to the southeastern United States. When he arrived in Florida, he discovered via newspaper Traditional Latin Masses offered at Our Lady of Good Hope in Pinellas Park, FL by the Old Roman Catholic Church See of Caer-Glow. Fr. John introduced himself to Abp. John J. Humphreys, Primate of the See of Caer-Glow, after which they became good friends. Their friendship grew, and Fr. John visited his Old Roman friends in Florida at least once a year until his death. In 2005, Abp. Humphreys made Fr. John an Honorary Canon with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.
In 1998, Fr. John moved to the Diocese of Scranton (PA) where he would eventually incardinate and do ministry as a diocesan priest until 2009.
In 2009, Fr. John moved to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas to join the Society of St. Augustine, renewed his Religious Profession on August 28th, 2009, and began teaching at Donnelly College where in 2013, he would be made Vice President of Spirituality and Mission. At Donnelly College, Fr. John served as Chair of the Theology and Philosophy Departments, and as head of Campus Ministry.
In June 2015, Fr. John was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, causing him to retire early from Donnelly College in June 2020. He subsequently departed the Society of St. Augustine and founded the Oblates of St. Augustine together with Br. Martin Navarro, who had entered the Society of St. Augustine in 2015.
Early in the morning on December 8th, 2022, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Fr. John was admitted to the ICU, and passed away on the evening of January 15th, 2023 having been prepared with Extreme Unction and the Apostolic Benediction.