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Harris, James

harrisjDecember 6, 2002
Baltimore, Maryland
James Harris 72, a married priest from Palm Coast Florida, died unexpectantly at a Celibacy Is the Issue meeting in Baltimore Maryland. Jim was ordained for Chicago Diocese in 1956. Jim left parish work in the early 60's to become a Navy Chaplain. He served both as a Navy Chaplain and Navy Line Officer until his retirement in 1981. During his twenty years in the Navy he served three tours in Vietnam. After his retirement, he moved to Palm Coast, Florida in Flagler County, where he was selected as the Executive Director of the Flagler County Council on Aging, a job he filled for fifteen years.

After leaving the Council, he dedicated his time to raising a teen age son and doing volunteer work for CITI(Rentapriest). As a member of the Palm Coast Community he served on various Boards of Directors including: Housing, Department of Children and Families, and the Association for Retarded Citizens. All who knew him described him as a person of great integrity who loved his fellowman.

He married Mary Jane in 1974 and has one son Andrew. Jim has been a staunch defender of the married priest movement. He has been one of the driving forces in the Rent A Priest movement. As a matter of fact he was at their meeting and making a presentation when he collapsed from a massive heart attack. His final resting place is Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington, D.C. His wife Mary Jane and son Andrew continue to reside in Palm Coast, Florida.

Louise Haggett, the founder of CITI, had this to say about Jim. "Jim Harrris has been as strong a figure to CITI and married priests within CITI as Del Smolinski, the canon lawyer who supplied canons that founded Rent A Priest. It was Jim Harris who did all the research and wrote all the documents for the CITI Certification Process that began two years ago...." "I am personally am so grateful that Jim chose CITI, which according to his talk last night, was the first organization among those he supported in which he chose to become actively involved.

I am so blessed to have known him and for intense legal and theological background he brought to CITI in order to strengthen the foundation of who we are."