Brother John Martin Harris, OP, was elected Prior Provincial of the Irish Province of the Dominicans on 4 August 2021 during the Chapter held at St. Mary’s Convent, Tallaght, Ireland. Following his confirmation by Brother Gerard Timoner III, OP, Master of the Order of Preachers, Br. John accepted his election and made the Profession of Faith.
Brother John was born to Ella and Jackie Harris in Limerick City, Ireland, on 5 May 1963. His family always attended the Dominican church in Limerick, and, beginning at the age of seven, Br. John served Mass in the conventual church. He applied to join the Order after finishing secondary school, was accepted into the pre-novitiate in 1980, made solemn profession in 1985 and was ordained a priest on 7 August 1988.
Brother John began his theological studies in 1982 at the Dominican Studium at St. Mary’s Priory, Tallaght, Ireland. Thereafter, he was sent to University College Dublin, where he received his BA (Hons) in Philosophy and Politics in 1986, and then to the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum), Rome, Italy, where he concluded his undergraduate studies in Theology. In 1992, Br. John earned his STL from the Angelicum after writing a thesis entitled The Laity: The Church in Politics. In 1999, he was assigned to the convent at San Clemente, Rome, to begin his doctoral studies. Br. John received his STD in 2004, having written a thesis entitled Ethics in Constitutional Law: A Theological Reflection on the Preamble to the Irish Constitution under the direction of Brother Wojciech Giertych, OP, Theologian of the Papal Household.
Brother John was assigned to the community in Drogheda, Ireland, in 1992, upon completing his STL in Rome. While in Drogheda, he worked in the church, was part of the chaplaincy team serving the nuns of the Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena, embarked on a ministry as a retreat master and began preaching parish missions throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 1996, he was posted to Tallaght to teach ecclesiology at the Studium, where he became Secretary of Studies in 1997 and continued to teach various courses. Br. John was selected as Moderator of Institutional Studies at the Studium in Dublin in 2004. In 2008, he was named Regent of Studies for the Province of Ireland. While serving as Regent, he was also a member of the Irish Bishops Committee on Bioethics, the National Spiritual Director of Youth 2000 Ireland, and a member of the Board of Directors of Spirit Radio. In 2016, after discharging his mandate as Regent, Br. John was elected prior of the convent in Newbridge, Ireland. While there, he also was rector of the public church, served as part of the chaplaincy team for the 900 students of Dominican College and continued his preaching mission throughout Ireland, the USA and Canada.
We commend to your prayers our brother’s service to the Order and to the Church.