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November 23, 2015

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Springfield Diocesan Priest Named Rector for the Pontifical North American College in Rome

11232015 Harman PeterSPRINGFIELD ─ Bishop Thomas John Paprocki today announced that Father Peter C. Harman, a priest of the Springfield diocese, has been appointed rector of the Pontifical North American College (PNAC) in Rome effective February 1, 2016.

The Board of Governors of the Congregation for Clergy in Rome made the announcement today that Father Harman, currently the Director of Pastoral Formation at PNAC, as its 23rd rector upon the completion of the 10-year service of Msgr. James Checchio.

Father Harman, a native of Quincy, attended Quincy Notre Dame High School and St. Meinrad College Seminary before commencing studies at the PNAC in 1995. Ordained a priest on July 17, 1999, Fr. Harman returned to Rome to complete the License in Sacred Theology. He began his pastoral service in 2000 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield where he later served as pastor for five years and oversaw the 2008-2009 restoration project. In addition, Father Harman taught at the former Ursuline Academy and served two years at St. Agnes Parish in Springfield. Father Harman earned his doctorate in sacred theology at The Catholic University of America and returned to Rome to serve his current role on the PNAC formation faculty, as well as serving as director of media relations and adjunct instructor in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

“I am very happy with the choice of Father Harman, whom I know for his fine service in his diocese and to the college,” said Newark [N.J.] Archbishop John Myers, chairman of the Board of Governors. “I am grateful to the Congregation for Clergy for their consideration of our recommendation for his appointment. I look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

“It is a great honor for Father Peter Harman and for our diocese that he has been named the new rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome,” said Bishop Paprocki.  “Father Harman is a faithful priest with many talents, as exhibited in his various assignments here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, particularly in overseeing the renovation of our Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception when he was Pastor of our Cathedral Parish in Springfield,” Bishop Paprocki continued.  “We wish Father Harman well and pray for God’s blessings as he assumes these new responsibilities in forming and educating future priests for the United States.”

“I view my time spent as a seminarian at the college as such an important gift to me,” said Father Harman. “While very much surprised and humbled by this appointment, I wish to do anything I can to further the good work that takes place here. I am reminded and inspired daily of the joyful and generous lives of the seminarians, student priests and faculty,” continued Father Harman. “We are surrounded by so many good and gracious things that our alumni, friends and benefactors make possible that I will approach this work with a renewed gratitude for the good of the College today and God’s never failing providence for us into tomorrow.”

Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the Pontifical North American College serves as the American seminary for diocesan clergy in Rome. The college has formed over 5000 priests near the heart of the Church for service in dioceses around the U.S., Canada and Australia. The college strengthens the bonds between Rome and local churches worldwide, and it allows its students to study the Church’s rich religious and cultural heritage at close range. It currently forms nearly 250 men for the priesthood and houses an additional 70 priests pursuing graduate studies.

The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has two seminarians studying at the PNAC including Michael Friedel, a third year theological student from Holy Angels Parish in Wood River and Dominic Rankin, of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Quincy, who is in his second year. In addition, Father Daren Zehnle of Quincy, is pursuing graduate studies in canon law with residence at the Casa Santa Maria, the graduate division of the PNAC in Rome.