FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           

Contact: Sal Lema
Carmelite Media
Fax: 630.971.0817


(November 25, 2013: Darien, IL)  The members of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province have elected the Very Reverend William J. Harry, O. Carm., to the position of Prior Provincial, to fill the unexpired term held by Very Reverend Carl Markelz, O. Carm., who took leave from this office after being elected as bursar general for the Order. Father Bill is now the primary authority in the Province. He serves as the Provinces’ spiritual leader and the official representative of the Province to the Carmelite General Curia and to other ecclesial and civic authorities.

Father Bill, who prior to this election resided in Tucson, Arizona, has been the Commissary Provincial of the Western Commissariat since June of 2008. His many other ministries include serving as director of book publications for Carmelite Media for the past six years, outreach preacher for Cross Catholic Outreach (since January 2008), editor of The Sword since November, 2007, and is currently the director of communications for the Carmelite NGO (a non-governmental organization affiliated to the United Nations) since 2001. Subsequent to these ministries, Father Bill completed a six-year term as counselor general for North America and Northern and Central Europe, as part of the General Curia in Rome, Italy.

Very Reverend William J. Harry, O.Carm., is a Louisville, Kentucky, native who joined the Carmelites and professed his first vows on August 7, 1977 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He was ordained to the priesthood as a Carmelite priest July 9, 1983 in Louisville.

His passion for education followed him through his vows and his formal training for priesthood. He received his baccalaureate degree in history from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1976. In 1979, Father Bill received his master’s degree in education administration from the University of Arizona. In 1982 he received an STB (baccalaureate in Sacred Theology) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. In 1986 Father Bill 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. He has also studied languages at the University of Vienna in Austria, and at Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

His professional experience started with his first assignment as teacher at Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, Arizona, from 1977-1979. He later returned to Salpointe and served there from 1983 to 1985. During those years he taught various subjects including theology, science, psychology, and cultural awareness, and was the school’s campus minister.

In 1986 he moved to Mundelein, Illinois, where he became principal of Carmel High School. After two years he became the school president, a position he held for eight years. During his tenure Father Bill provided the leadership to merge two schools and initiated a Board of Directors. Father Bill’s foresight brought the school’s first successful capital campaign netting $3 million dollars. Under his term, the school received the “National Exemplary School Award” for the second time (it has now won the award four times) given from the United States Department of Education.

In 1998 Father Bill became editor of the Carmelite Review magazine and moved to the pre-novitiate house in Houston, Texas. During this time he also was appointed vocation director of the Province. In 1999, Father Bill was elected by his peers as commissary provincial of the Western Commissariat, a position he held until his election to the General Council of the Order.

As Counselor General, Father Bill was the director of the Office of Communications of the Carmelite Order and the editor of CITOC, a quarterly international news magazine which was printed in three languages. Additionally, Father Bill held various responsibilities including liaison to the Order’s publishing house as well as its research institutes, libraries, and archives in numerous parts of the world. He served in these responsibilities for his term as General Councilor.

Returning to the United States, after a sabbatical Father Bill was once again elected Western Commissary in 2009 and re-elected for a second three-year term in 2011.

His volunteer work includes serving as webmaster, as fire department chaplain and as a member of the Northern Illinois Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Association. He was a recipient of the “Outstanding Citizen of the Village of Mundelein, Illinois” award in recognition for his volunteer work in the community, and named one of the “Ten Key Leaders in Lake County” for his educational leadership and participation in civic initiatives throughout the northern Illinois County.

Father Bill has been a member of many commissions both within the Province and internationally, from his work on the Provincial Education Commission to his International Communications Commission Chair. He has also been a board member of four Carmelite high schools: Crespi Carmelite High School, Encino, California; Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, Arizona; Mount Carmel High School, Chicago, Illinois; and Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet, Illinois.

With his work Father Bill has traveled extensively both in the United States and to foreign countries, having resided in three foreign countries. He speaks and understands multiple languages.

As prior provincial of the Province of The Most Pure Heart of Mary, Very Reverend William J. Harry, O.Carm., will reside in Darien, Illinois. His term as provincial is for the remainder of Father Markelz’ elected three-year term. The next Provincial Chapter will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in June of 2014.

For further information on the Very Reverend William J. Harry, O.Carm., Prior Provincial or the Order of Carmelites contact Carmelite Media at (630) 971-0724 or visit the Carmelite website at www.carmelnet.org.


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