(from the Diocese of Orlando)

Monsignor Fachtna Joseph Harte
February 21, 1930 – May 30, 2020
Ordained to the Priesthood on June 18, 1961
Incardinated into the Diocese of Orlando on June 6, 1973

(credit: Diocese of Orlando)

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Fachtna Joseph Harte

Monsignor Harte was born on February 21, 1930 in Killala, Co. Mayo, Ireland. He was the fourth child of eight children born to teachers Timothy and Elizabeth Harte.

From the age of 9 he desired to serve the Church. He received his secondary education at St. Gerald’s Secondary School in Castlebar and St. Mary’s Secondary School in Athlone. For a short time he was a member of the teaching order of the Marist Brothers, having trained as a teacher at De La Salle College in Waterford City. He departed the Marist Brothers in July 1955 and studied at Mound Melleray Seminary County in Waterford and at All Hallows College in Dublin, where he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Yakima, Washington on June 18, 1961. He taught in high school there for 9 years.  In 1970 he moved to serve in the Diocese of Orlando.

His first assignment upon arrival in the Diocese of Orlando was parochial vicar of Blessed Trinity Parish, Orlando and taught at Bishop Moore Catholic High School. He subsequently served as parochial vicar for Epiphany Parish, Port Orange and taught at Father Lopez Catholic High School. He then served as parochial vicar for St. Joseph Parish, Winter Haven. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Orlando on June 6, 1973.  In 1975 he became the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish, Orlando, and became a member of the school board of Bishop Moore Catholic High School. Later he served as a member of the Diocesan Insurance Committee. He also served on the Presbyteral Council.

His new parish became the center for a tourism ministry. Under his committed and inspired leadership, the dedicated people of his parish tried to help visitors get to Mass on Sundays and they established a ministry in four hotels. Monsignor Harte was named Director of Ministry to Tourists in 1980. Under the direction of Bishop Thomas Grady, a decision was made to establish a church in the theme park area. Monsignor Harte spearheaded the project, committing his considerable vision and energy to its management. This project became the Shrine of Mary Queen of the Universe. Monsignor Harte was named Director, Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in 1986. Eventually the diocesan shrine achieved the designations of National Shrine and then Minor Basilica. Monsignor Harte was appointed the first rector of the Shrine in 1992.  The Shrine was dedicated to God on August 22, 1993.

He received the honor of becoming Chaplain to his Holiness with the title of Monsignor in 2003. Monsignor Harte retired in 2007; but, continued to serve the pilgrims visiting to the area through his leadership and participation with the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Monsignor Harte was a great apostle of devotion to our Blessed Mother and to the Rosary. He tirelessly offered pastoral care to clergy, religious and laity who came to visit at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe to renew their spirit with the grace of the Sacraments and their devotion to our Blessed Mother. 

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Holy Family Catholic Community