New Rector Announced

“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus Rectorem!” While the announcement of the College’s new rector was not made in quite the same language, there was still great joy for all involved.

Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patrón Wong, Secretary for Seminaries at the Congregation for Clergy, took the podium at the College during the regular lunch hour on Monday, November 23 and began by thanking Monsignor James Checchio (Camden, ’92, C ’97) for his great work over ten years as the College’s Rector. After the applause died down, the Archbishop went on to thank all of the faculty for their service to the Church in providing priestly formation.

Father Harman is applauded by Archbishop Patrón Wong following the announcement on Monday at pranzo.

Ever cheerful, Archbishop Patrón Wong teased the seminarians, asking if they would like to know who the new rector would be. “Yes!” came the resounding reply; and with that assurance, Reverend Peter Harman (Springfield in Illinois, ’99) was announced as the 23rd Rector of the College, effective February 1, 2016.

After ordination and finishing his License in Sacred Theology, Rev. Harman began his pastoral service in 2000 in Springfield at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where he would later serve as pastor for five years including during its 2008–2009 restoration. He had also taught at Ursuline Academy and served two years at St. Agnes Parish. Fr. Harman earned a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Catholic University of America, and later returned to Rome to serve in his current role on the North American College formation faculty, as well as serving as its director of Media Relations and as an adjunct instructor in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In light of Rev. Harman’s qualifications and new appointment, Msgr. Checchio has stated that having “a priest of Father Harman’s caliber with his pastoral and educational background will be a blessing for the seminarians and priests entrusted to his care”.

The College will miss Msgr. Checchio’s presence as he returns home to ministry in the Diocese of Camden, but enthusiastically joins His Eminence Cardinal Beniamino Stella and all the Congregation for Clergy, whom Archbishop Patrón Wong assured would be praying for Rev. Harman in his new assignment as Rector of the College.