|Archbishop Harris: ‘Paraguay made me a priest’ - Sep 18|
|2011 - Features|
|Saturday, 17 September 2011 23:02|
From the programme notes
Coadjutor Archbishop elect Joseph Harris was born in Arouca, Trinidad, on March 19, 1942, the fourth child of his parents, Conrad and Gladys, both of whom were teachers. His parents trained their six children very well, ensuring that there was a good blend of study and play built on a foundation of respect for God and for each other. Fr Joe, as he is called, fondly remembers the family rosary around his parents’ bed and the vacations spent in Surrey village, Lopinot which all the children consider their second home. During his secondary school years Fr Joe considered the priesthood but the attractions of married life also appealed to him.
Faced with this dilemma, Fr Joe consulted a priest friend who advised him to go to the seminary. He took that advice and after finishing secondary school at St Mary's College, Port of Spain, where he was considered an average student, in 1960 he went to do his novitiate with the Holy Ghost Fathers at Lac-au-Saumon in the Province of Quebec, Canada and he took temporary vows on the August 22, 1961. He was then sent to Dublin in Ireland to do philosophy studies, following which he came back to Trinidad to study theology. He took perpetual vows on October 20, 1967 and received his priestly ordination on July 14, 1968.
At the end of his initial formation, Fr Harris was sent to Paraguay where he worked as a missionary until 1982. The impact of this time of missionary work is aptly summed up by Fr Harris in these words: “Archbishop Pantin ordained me. Paraguay made me a priest.” Following this he went to the United States for further studies in the course of which he obtained a Masters in Spirituality and a Doctorate in Church Administration, writing principally on the ministry of formation. While studying he was involved in the formation of Spiritan students in Chicago. After five years in Chicago he returned to Trinidad to assume a similar role in charge of the formation of Spiritan students. In 1993 he was appointed Rector of the Regional Seminary of St John Vianney and the Uganda Martyrs, a post he held for six years. In 1997 he was elected Provincial Superior and fulfilled this responsibility until 2003. After this he went to Ottawa, Canada, to study Canon Law returning to Trinidad in 2005 as Judicial Vicar in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, a post he has held up to now as well as being in charge of St Anne's parish, Vicar for the Clergy, lecturer at the senior seminary and minister in the Spanish-speaking community.
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