Diocese of Rockville Centre


Reverend Frederic Joseph Harrer who served as a priest for 60 years in the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre died August 21 at the Rockville Nursing Center in Rockville Centre after a long illness. He was 86 years old.

Born on July 3, 1919 in Brooklyn to the late Fred and Marie Huether Harrer, he attended St. Martha’s Parochial School in Ridgewood and Cathedral Minor Seminary in Brooklyn, and continued his studies for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington.

Father Harrer was ordained a priest at St. James Pro-Cathedral on April 3,1945 by Bishop Thomas E. Molloy. His first assignments as an associate pastor were to St. James Pro-Cathedral and the parish of St. Monica in Jamaica.

Father Harrer moved to Long Island and the growing parish of St. Patrick in Bay Shore in 1948. In 1961, Father Harrer was named an Associate Pastor at the Church of St. Dominic in Oyster Bay and was transferred to Our Lady of Peace in Lynbrook in 1965. In 1967 he was named an Associate Pastor at Holy Spirit Church in New Hyde Park.

Two years later Father Harrer was named Pastor of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Hicksville. In 1976 as part of a cover story on Vatican II, a profile of the church was featured in Time Magazine. Titled “A Parish That Hopes and Copes”, the article focused on the physical and structural changes in the parish under the leadership of Father Harrer. In the article, Father Harrer said he believed Vatican II “has given people a new challenge - to describe their faith not in the exercise of practices but in the depth of their soul.” In his 21 years at St. Ignatius Loyola, Father Harrer completed three rounds of parish visits and was working on his fourth when he retired in 1990.

A wake for Father Harrer will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 23 at the Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in Hicksville. Monsignor Donald Hanson will preside at a Vigil Mass 7:30 p.m. that evening at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Hicksville. Monsignor Donald Bennett will be the homilist.

Bishop John Dunne will be the principal celebrant at the Funeral Mass on Wednesday,
August 24 at 11:00 a.m. at the church. The homily will be delivered by Father James Carmody. Burial will be at St. Charles Cemetery.

Father Harrer is survived by his two sisters; Kathleen Clune of Levittown and Miriam Langan of Massachussetts.