Diocesan News

Msgr. Kieran Harrington Named Director of the National Pontifical Mission Societies

By Tablet Staff

WINDSOR TERRACE — Msgr. Kieran Harrington of the Diocese of Brooklyn has been named the new national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples made the appointment. Msgr. Harrington will succeed Father Andrew Small, OMI, who is completing his second five-year term.

Msgr. Kieran Harrington

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in a statement, “I have worked with Msgr. Harrington in many capacities for the past 17 plus years, five of which were spent living at the Bishop’s Residence, and I know his selection for this assignment is the absolute right choice.”

“There has always been an extraordinary desire within him to bring the good news of Jesus Christ, and the Christian faith, to the people not only of his parish but throughout the world,” he added.

Msgr. Harrington said he is “grateful to Bishop DiMarzio for his tutelage and the confidence he entrusted to me as Rector/pastor of the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph and Church of St. Teresa. Moreover, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as vicar for communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn, and president and chairman of DeSales Media.”

Father Small warmly welcomed the news of Msgr. Harrington’s appointment.

“Having gotten to know Msgr. Kieran over the last 10 years, I am delighted that someone of such ability and passion has been chosen as the next National Director of the Holy Father’s mission societies,” he said. 

Msgr. Harrington is looking forward to his new mission and said he is “thankful to Cardinal Tagle for this opportunity to serve the Universal Church in this national ministry to re-awaken the missionary impulse in each of us, which is at the heart of our baptismal calling.” 

The Pontifical Mission Societies are organizations under the direction of the Holy Father. Their purpose is the promotion of a universal missionary spirit among all baptized Catholics. There are four societies: the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. 

These four societies each received the title “pontifical” in 1922 to indicate their status as official instruments of the pope and of the universal Catholic Church. The national director heads the four societies in the United States and oversees the World Missions Sunday Collection, which is taken up on the third Sunday of October each year.

With the appointment, Msgr. Harrington will leave behind his current roles at the Diocese of Brooklyn and DeSales Media later this year. He stressed that he looks forward to working with the bishops and dioceses to support the pastoral work of the pontifical missions.

“I ask the Lord to bless him as he takes this new role in the Church,” Bishop DiMarzio said.

Msgr. Harrington has served as vicar for communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn since being appointed to the role in 2006 by Bishop DiMarzio. In 2011, he created DeSales Media Group and also served as President and Chairman. DeSales Media is the communications and technology non-profit operated within the diocese.

While in these two major roles, Harrington has made notable contributions to the diocese and Catholic media. He has overseen the Diocese of Brooklyn’s public information office; government affairs and public policy office; NET-TV, the cable station of the Diocese of Brooklyn; and has acted as the associate publisher of The Tablet and Nuestra Voz newspapers. 

According to Bishop DiMarzio, Msgr. Harrington played a critical role in leading the mission to upgrade technology in Catholic schools and churches, enhancing the digital and social media presence of the diocese, and growing the presence of Catholic media. 

As rector of the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, one of Msgr. Harrington’s biggest accomplishments was completing the restoration of the structure. 

The church was once in danger of being demolished, but is now a vibrant center that brings priests together for liturgies such as ordinations and the Chrism Mass. 

The faithful come for diocesan liturgies like the Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and joyful events like Christmas concerts and musicals.