Msgr. Thomas J. Harrington


FALL RIVER, Mass. — Rev. Msgr. Thomas J. Harrington, 79, died on Friday, June 30, 2017 at Charlton Memorial Hospital.

Msgr. Harrington was born in New Bedford on July 28, 1938.  He was the son of the late Atty. Edward and Ester (Yates) Harington. One of five children, he was predeceased by the late Atty. Edward J Harrington Jr., and Ann Callanan. He is survived by sisters Mary T. Cain of Framingham and Ester Gillis of Katy, Texas. He also leaves several nieces and nephews.

Msgr. Harrington was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James L. Connolly on May 30, 1964.  After ordination, he returned to Catholic University in Washington D.C. for graduate studies and received a License in Canon law in 1969. Holding numerous diocesan positions, Bishop Connolly appointed him Chancellor of the Diocese in 1972. 

In 1974, Pope Paul IV designated him a papal chamberlain with the rank of monsignor and in 1999 Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor of his Holiness.

Msgr. Harrington served as parochial vicar of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Hyannis and Immaculate Conception Parish in Fall River. He was appointed rector of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in Fall River in 1978, later becoming pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Taunton in 1987. He was appointed pastor of Holy Name Parish in New Bedford in 1995 and oversaw the birth of the new parish of Holy Name Sacred Heart of Jesus. For reasons of health, Msgr. Harrington retired from active ministry in 2004.

Msgr. Harrington also served as chaplain to the Fire Departments in Hyannis, Taunton and New Bedford and in retirement he continued to minister to the firefighters of the Fall River Fire Department. He was a founding member of the Corps of Fire Chaplains in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was honored by his peers in 2008 with the Mychal Judge Award.

Msgr. Harrington will be transferred to St. Mary’s Cathedral on Thursday, July 6 at 2 p.m., where he will lie in state until a wake service at 7:30 p.m. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, July 7 at 11 a.m. with Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., as principal celebrant.

Donations in Msgr. Harrington’s memory may be made to the Fallen Firefighters Scholarship Fund.


© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts