CBC reports on Fr. Richard Harris’ ordination

(from CBC News – New Brunswick – Sept. 12, 2015)

Father Richard Harris converts from Anglican priest to Catholic
Newly-ordained Father Richard Harris spent 41 years as an Anglican priest, he converted to Catholicism two years ago.

father-richard-harrisThe number of Catholic priests in Canada has fallen sharply in recent decades, so any ordination is a rare event.

But Friday’s example of the sacrament in Saint John was particularly unusual — because the new priest was surrounded by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Father Richard Harris and his wife Maggie have three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. (Redmond Shannon/CBC)

Father Richard Harris and his wife Maggie have three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. (Redmond Shannon/CBC)

“It’s something that I’ve wanted to happen for a number of years and it’s finally happened,” said Father Richard Harris. “It’s a great privilege and a great responsibility too.”

Harris wiped away tears of joy as he was ordained by the Bishop of Saint John, surrounded by his large family, including his wife Maggie.

Harris began his career as an Anglican priest 41 years ago and worked in Newfoundland and New Brunswick. After he retired in 2003, Harris and his wife converted to Catholicism together, before he began the process of becoming a Catholic priest.

“It takes a mutual vocation. If God is calling the husband, he must also be calling the wife to a complementary role,” said Maggie.

Harris said he preferred not to discuss his exact reasons for converting, other than saying Catholicism provided a more solid ground.

Harris said he doesn’t want his case to set a precedent, as he respects the continued celibacy of Catholic priests.

“It is a tremendous privilege to know that Pope Francis has allowed this to be,” he said.

Harris is 76 and will not serve as a full time priest, but as a regional mentor for others who wish to convert as well.

According to the diocese, there are only 80 priests in North America who have made the same conversion as Harris.

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3 Responses to CBC reports on Fr. Richard Harris’ ordination

  1. EPMS says:

    Looking at the Parish Finder map on the OCSP website http://ordinariate.net/parishfinder I at first thought that Fredericton, NB had been misidentified as being in Nova Scotia. On further investigation, however, I see that while Our Lady of the Sign, Fredericton is still not on the map, there is a new group, the St Bede Catholic Community in formation in Halifax, NS, led by Fr Harris.

  2. EPMS says:

    Our Lady of the Sign, Fredericton is now on both this map and the one which can be accessed by clicking the “Find a Parish” link under the picture of the cathedral on the OCSP website. Can anyone identify the third California group shown on this latter map?

  3. Fr. Richard Harris says:

    Fr. Harris here. If you check the map now you’ll see that there is both Fredericton and Halifax listed as having Ordinariate communities. I am working both groups but I only get to Halifax about every 3 to 4 weeks. When Halifax was first added to the map Fredericton got dropped.

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