YEAR FOR PRIESTS

Meet your priests: Father Gerald Harbour

During the Year for Priests, as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, Rhode Island Catholic will present a series of bi-weekly interviews with diocesan and religious order priests ministering in the Diocese of Providence. Randomly chosen priests were sent a list of questions. The responses will be published as written by those who have answered the call to serve Christ and his Church.

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FATHER GERALD G. HARBOUR WHEN DID YOU FIRST THINK OF BECOMING A PRIEST?

At a very early age, in grade school.

WAS THERE ANYONE IN YOUR CHILDHOOD WHO INSPIRED AND ENCOURAGED YOUR VOCATION BY THEIR EXAMPLE OF HOLINESS, SUCH AS A PARENT, GRANDPARENT OR RELIGIOUS SISTER?

Yes, I attended Catholic school and all of the above encouraged me, especially the priests and sisters, and the wonderful example o Christian living I had at home. The Church was the center of our lives.

WHAT IS THE GREATEST JOY OF BEING A PRIEST?

The privilege of being part of peoples lives at every stage; their great trust in you as a person and a priest; and allowing you to be there when everything matters.

CAN YOU SHARE AN EXPERIENCE YOU ARE MOST GRATEFUL FOR IN YOUR PRIESTLY MINISTRY?

Having had the opportunity to serve in different ministries; hospital ministry, prison ministry, Hispanic ministry and parish ministry. All have enriched me greatly. I have a very soft spot, however, for my 12 years at Rhode Island Hospital. I continue to be thankful for having had the opportunity to serve there. Those years expanded my concept of ministry. Give it a try.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE FACED IN SERVING?

Being open to new possibilities, new ministries; taking a chance; trusting the Lord.

HOW DO YOU KEEP INFORMED OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING THE CHURCH AND YOUR PARISHIONERS?

I try to be faithful in reading at least a few publications a month, such as "First Things" and "Origins" as well as several other publications and articles on ministering to my Hispanic parish.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD STRONG AND CONTINUE TO GROW SPIRITUALLY?

Daily prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, and I try to make a visit to Church daily, for quiet and prayer.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR BROTHER PRIESTS?

Regular contact and shared "down time.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL INTERESTS OR HOBBIES THAT YOU ENJOY?

Traveling, skiing (in the past) and frequent visits to my favorite spots on the shore.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO ENCOURAGE VOCATIONS?

Be happy at what you are doing. Be available to the people and listen to their stories often. I believe

that compassion is a most important gift in ministry. Young men and women have to like and be attracted to what they see in us.