The Pontifical North American College

February 29, 2016

New Rector Installed

There’s a new Peter in town. On Sunday, February 28, 2016, the Very Reverend Peter Harman (Springfield in Illinois, ‘99) was formally installed as the twenty-third Rector of the College during Sunday’s Holy Mass by His Excellency John Myers (‘67), Archbishop of Newark and Chairman of the College Board of Governors. The Archbishop’s homily and several of the addresses at the following banquet touched upon a theme found in Pope St. John Paul II’s seminal document on priestly formation, Pastores Dabo Vobis: “In its deepest identity the seminary is called to be, in its own way, a continuation in the Church of the apostolic community gathered about Jesus” (60). With this mind, the College received Rev. Peter Harman as its new head – its new Peter – with great joy.

Rev. Harman, newly installed Rector of the College, sits with his mother Betty at the banquet that followed the celebration of Mass.
Rev. Harman, newly installed Rector of the College, sits with his mother Betty at the banquet that followed the celebration of Mass.

To help celebrate the occasion, the College was joined by Rev. Harman’s family and friends – including his mother Betty; the Honorable Ken Hackett, the United States’ Ambassador to the Holy See; His Excellency Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong, Secretary for Seminaries at the Congregation for Clergy; and several cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests connected with the College. After receiving Rev. Harman’s Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith at the beginning of Mass, Archbishop Myers exhorted the community to be mediators of the Mystery of God, with special attention to the humility of recognizing that the ordained also need the Father’s mercy.

During opening remarks at the banquet, the virtue of humility was among the pastoral, theological, and administrative competencies voiced in praise of Rev. Harman by the Pastoral Council Chair, Rev. Mr. Jim Morin (Lincoln, ‘16) and the Rector’s own bishop, Thomas Paprocki (CSM ‘91). Bishop Paprocki highlighted this humility by telling those present a humorous incident from Rev. Harman’s previous assignment as rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, in which he honestly admitted a mistake to the Bishop and asked for his forgiveness. In his remarks, Rev. Harman stated, “It is with real humility that I stand here today,” while expressing his trust that God will provide in his new ministry. His Eminence, Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and previously the nineteenth Rector of College, offered a toast to Rev. Harman with the recommendation to “keep the seminarians guessing” and ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Humility, the College’s Patroness. The festivities ended with a closing prayer by Archbishop Patrón Wong and his leading the Salve Regina to Our Lady.

With a new Peter at the helm, who – despite his many gifts – is humble enough to trust in God’s providence and ask for Our Lady’s assistance, the College looks forward to many fruitful years of Rev. Peter Harman’s rectorate.


Click here for the College’s formal media announcement about the installation of the new Rector.


(Header image: Rev. Harman signs the Oath of Fidelity upon his installation as Rector during the celebration of Mass with the College community.)