(July 10, 2017: Darien, IL) The members of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province have elected the Very Reverend William J. Harry, O. Carm., to a second three year term as Prior Provincial, the province's spiritual and temporal leader.
A native of Louisville, KY, Fr. Bill is a 1972 graduate of DeSales High School and a 2015 inductee into the DeSales Hall of Honor. After joining the Carmelites and professing his first vows on August 7, 1977 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, he was ordained to the priesthood on July 9, 1983 in Louisville by Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, OP.
Having lived in three countries, being fluent in three languages, and having served as Commissary Provincial for the Western USA, Mexico, and El Salvador, Fr. Bill brings a fresh international perspective to his leadership role within the province, a province which spans 5 countries and consists of 180 members, including 40 students.
Fr. Bill has also served as counselor general for North America and Northern and Central Europe, as part of the General Curia in Rome, Italy. As Counselor General, Fr. Bill was the director of the Office of Communications of the Carmelite Order and editor of CITOC, a quarterly international news magazine printed in three languages. He also served, and continues to serve, as director of communications for the Carmelite NGO, a non-governmental organization affiliated to the United Nations.
Having a passion for education, Fr. Bill received his baccalaureate degree in history from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his master's degree in education administration from the University of Arizona, and an STB (baccalaureate in Sacred Theology) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. In 1986 he was awarded an STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) in spirituality from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois, and in 1997 a Doctorate in Ministry in communications.
Fr. Bill's first assignment as a Carmelite was as a teacher at Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, Arizona, while simultaneously serving as the school's campus minister. He also served in residence at the Carmelite Priory on the Salpointe campus and as administrator of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Tucson following the retirement of the founding pastor. Today he continues his service to Salpointe as a member of the Board of Directors.
His passion for education saw him serve with distinction at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois, as principal and then as school president, a position he held for eight years. During his tenure at Carmel Catholic, Fr. Bill merged two schools and initiated a Board of Directors. His foresight brought the school's first successful capital campaign netting $3 million dollars. Under his leadership, the school received the "National Exemplary School Award" from the United States Department of Education.
Fr. Bill received of the "Outstanding Citizen of the Village of Mundelein, Illinois," in recognition for his volunteer work in the community, and has been named one of the "Ten Key Leaders in Lake County" for his educational leadership and participation in civic initiatives throughout the northern Illinois county." He also received the Martin Luther King Award in recognition for his work in education and in social justice issues in various parts of the world.
Fr. Bill has also served as a board member to four Carmelite high schools: Crespi Carmelite High School, Encino, California; Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, Arizona, where he has served since 2008 as a member of the Board of Directors; Mount Carmel High School, Chicago, Illinois, where he currently serves as chair of the Board of Members; and Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet, Illinois, where he has served since 2013 as a member of the Board of Directors.
As prior provincial of the Province of The Most Pure Heart of Mary, Very Reverend William J. Harry, O. Carm., will reside on the Aylesford campus in Darien, Illinois.