Rector Agrees to Delay Departure From Rome’s North American College

The Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy is expected to name Father Harman’s successor in the coming months, in consultation with the board of governors.

Father Peter Harman, rector of the North American College seminary in Rome, in a 2017 photo.
Father Peter Harman, rector of the North American College seminary in Rome, in a 2017 photo. (photo: Lucia Ballester/CNA / EWTN)

ROME — Father Peter Harman has agreed to delay his departure as rector of the Pontifical North American College, the seminary’s board of governors said on Wednesday.

The seminary for U.S. students in Rome announced in October that Father Harman would complete his six-year term on Jan. 31.

But the board of governors said on Jan. 12 that Father Harman, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, would now stay until June 30.

Bishop Robert P. Deeley of Portland, Maine, the chairman of the board of governors, said: “We are grateful that Father Harman has agreed to extend his term through June.”

“He has provided exceptional leadership through these difficult years of the pandemic, and the entire board is thankful that he was willing to continue on in this role while the appointment of the next rector is finalized.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy is expected to name Father Harman’s successor in the coming months, in consultation with the board of governors.

Father Harman was appointed rector for a five-year term that started in February 2016. In July 2020, he was asked to stay on as rector for an additional year to maintain consistent leadership through the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis’ with Fr. Peter Harman, rector of the Pontifical North American College, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Sept. 29, 2021. Pablo Esparza/CNA.

Pope Francis’ with Fr. Peter Harman, rector of the Pontifical North American College, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Sept. 29, 2021. Pablo Esparza/CNA.

He is the 23rd rector since the college was established in 1859. Past rectors include American Church figures such as Archbishop Martin John O’Connor, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

More than 200 seminarians and graduate priests from the United States and Australia are currently studying at the college.

Pope Francis conferred on Catholics the lay ministries of catechist and lector at a Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 23.

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