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Société des Missions Africaines – Province des Etats-Unis
Le Père Peter HARRINGTON

 harrington né le 8 février 1889 à Kilkilleen
dans le diocèse de Ross, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 6 novembre 1910
prêtre le 4 juillet 1912
décédé le 2 décembre 1956 

1913-1916 Liberia
1916-1918 aumônier militaire dans les forces américaines
1921-1946 fondateur de la paroisse Saint-Augustin dans
l’Illinois, et curé
1946-1956 Tenafly, supérieur provincial

décédé à Teaneck, Etats-Unis, le 2 décembre 1956
à l’âge de 67 ans

 

(biographie en anglais à la suite)

Le père Peter HARRINGTON (1889 - 1956)

A Teaneck (USA), le 2 décembre 1956, retour à Dieu du père Peter Harrington, provincial d'Amérique, à l'âge de 67 ans.

Peter Harrington naquit à Belfast, dans le diocèse de Ross, en Irlande, en 1889. Il était le frère aîné du père Stephen Harrington, ancien supérieur général. Il fit ses études à Wilton Cork, Chanly et Lyon, où il fit le serment en 1910. Diacre en Egypte en 1911, et prêtre à Lyon en 1912. Affecté au séminaire de Blackrock Road, il partit pour la préfecture du Liberia.

En 1916, il est aumônier en Afrique du Nord, et en 1918 économe et professeur à Blackrock en Irlande. Le père Peter Harrington était d'une intelligence supérieure et très doué pour l'enseignement.

En 1921, le père partait pour les Etats-Unis. Il fondait la paroisse d'East Saint-Louis pour les Noirs. Il fonda en 1928 Cairo. En 1932, il devenait visiteur, provincial en 1946; il fut réélu en 1952.

Il dut subir une grave opération dont il ne réussit pas à se remettre.


Father Peter HARRINGTON (1889 - 1956)

Peter Harrington was born at Kilkilleen, Aughadown, Skibbereen, Co Cork, in the diocese of Ross, on February 23, l888. He died at the Holy Name hospital, Teaneck, New Jersey, USA, on December 2, l956.

Peter studied at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (l902 l907), before entering the Society's seminary and novitiate at Lyon, France. In January 1910 Peter went to Chanly, Belgium, where the Society had just established a house of philosophy. On November 6, 1910, he took his oath of Society membership at Lyon to where he had returned to commence his theological formation. In 1911 Peter transferred to the Society's theological seminary at Tantah, near Cairo, Egypt. Ordained to the diaconate at Tantah, in November l9ll, Peter returned to Lyon for his ordination to priesthood which took place on July 14, l9l2. He was ordained by Bishop Paul Pellet, formerly vicar apostolic of Benin (Lagos) and then Superior General of the Society. Peter was the first member ordained for the Irish Province which had been established three months earlier, in May l9l2. Ordained with him on that day was Stephen Woodley, from England, who remained attached to the Society's headquarters in Lyon.

After ordination Peter taught briefly at the seminary of the new Irish Province, which was situated at Blackrock Road, Cork. A year later he was posted to West Africa, to the prefecture of Liberia, which had been confided to the Irish Province on its establishment. Already during his student days Peter had revealed exceptional leadership qualities and scarcely had he arrived in Liberia than he was appointed 'Visitor' or Provincial representative on the mission, responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of his Irish colleagues. Before l9l2 Liberia had been staffed mainly by continental priests drawn from France and Alsace. The arrival of the first group of young missionaries belonging to the Irish Province created its own tensions and Peter soon found himself at loggerheads with the prefect, Jean Ogé. These tensions were eventually resolved but it was not surprising that in l9l6 Peter should volunteer as a military chaplain to the allied forces in the Middle East. Many of the troops were of Irish extraction and there was a great demand for Catholic chaplains. Between 1917-1919 Peter served in Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria. He next returned to Ireland becoming, successively, bursar and professor at Blackrock Road, and also serving as a Provincial Councillor to William Butler.

In l921 the Irish Province, which had a growing number of invalided members no longer capable of working in the tropics, decided to seek a mission in a more temperate climate. Peter was dispatched to investigate the possibility of opening up missions to African-Americans in the USA. Having learned much from his earlier experiences of leadership in Liberia, Peter's mission was to be crowned with success. Gaining admission to the diocese of Belleville in Southern Illinois, he established the Province's first American mission at East St. Louis. The parish, named after St. Augustine, served a population which was largely African-American. Six years later, in l928, he founded a second mission, named after St. Columba, in the town of Cairo, Southern Illinois. At this point Peter expressed a wish to return to Africa but his superiors, recognising his achievements in the USA, insisted that he remain, appointing him 'Visitor' of the confreres. Subsequently Peter was to play a major role in the establishment of an American Province of the Society which was formed from among Irish and Alsatian members (the latter working mainly in the diocese of Savannah) in l94l. In l946, at the first Provincial Assembly of the Province Peter was elected to succeed Father Ignace Lissner as Provincial. He occupied this post until the Assembly of l952 at which he was re elected for a second term.

Peter's energetic leadership of the Province, tragically cut short by illness, was to be marked by the extension of the Province's works to Africa. This important new dimension was pioneered in November l948 when a small group of members assumed responsibility for a number of mission stations in the Cape Palmas area of Liberia. The district was erected into a Prefecture in l950 and was entrusted to the care of the American Province. Within American boundaries Peter founded a new mission parish in Charleston diocese, South Carolina in l949 and oversaw new developments in many of the existing parishes. He did much too to improve the Province's training facilities, constructing a seminary with accommodation for 50 students at Dedham, near Boston, Massachusetts. Peter became incurably ill in 1953, yet he remained in office up to the time of his death. He was the older brother of Stephen Harrington who became Irish Provincial and Superior General. Sr. Celerine OLA was his sister; James Murphy SMA was his nephew, and Sr. Bonaventure OLA was his niece.

He is buried in the SMA Community plot, at Mount Carmel cemetery, Tenafly, New Jersey.