Assignment Record – Bishop Timothy J. Harrington

Summary of Case: Ordained for the diocese of Springfield, MA in 1946, Harrington became a priest of the Worcester diocese when Springfield split in 1950. He held a masters degree in social work and was assistant director, then director of Catholic Charities for many years. He was elevated to auxiliary bishop in 1968, then bishop of Worcester in 1983. He retired in 1994 and died in March 1997. In a 2005 lawsuit Harrington was accused, along with six other priests and bishops, of having sexually abused an 11-15 year old boy in the 1950s. His accuser was a nephew of one of the other accused priests. The Springfield and Worcester dioceses defended Harrington and stated that there was no evidence to support the claims in their records.

: 1946
Ordained Bishop: July 2, 1968
Retired: 1994
Died: March 23, 1997


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Springfield bishop was Thomas Michael O'Leary (1921-1949)

The diocese split in Jan. 1950. Worcester bishop was John Joseph Wright (1950-1959)

1951 St. Bernard's Worcester MA


In residence 1950-1951

1951 1952 St. John's Worcester MA 4/4 In residence. St. John's had a school with 178 boys and 188 girls.


Wright was succeeded as Worcester bishop by Bernard Joseph Flanagan (1959-1983)


Catholic Charities



Harrington was accused in a 2005 lawsuit of having sexually abused a boy in the 1950s, when the boy was 11-15 years old. His accuser claimed to have also been sexually abused by four other priests and a bishop, including the accuser's uncle, Rev. Raymond Page. The abuse is said to have occurred at his uncle's cabin in Holland, MA and at the rectory of St. Anne's shrine in Fiskdale.

MA Assistant Director 1950-1960; Director 1960-1969 The Worcester diocese "found no basis of credibility to the claims", and defended the accused clerics, all of whom were deceased. The bishop of Springfield stated that there was nothing in their records to support the allegations. Harrington's accuser passed two lie detector tests, according to his attorney.
1952 1956 Nazareth Orphanage Leicester MA Chaplain Nazareth Orphanage had 36-20 boys.
1956 1957   Worcester MA   Harrington is indexed as at 26 Vernon St., which was the address for Catholic Charities.
1957 1961 Our Lady of the Way Worcester MA Director This was a rehabilitation center for homeless men, operated by Catholic Charities. Harrington was elevated to Monsignor in 1960.
1961 1964   Worcester MA   It's unclear where Harrington lived during these years.
1964 1969 Our Lady of the Way Worcester MA Resident Director Harrington was appointed Auxilliary Bishop of Worcester April 2, 1968, and was consecrated July 2, 1968.
1968 1983 Vicar General Worcester MA    
1969 1983 Vicar for Priests and Religious Worcester MA    
1969 1976 Priests Personnel Board Chair Worcester MA    
1969 1983 St. John's Worcester MA

1/6, 1/7

2/6, 1/6, 2/7, 2/9, 4/8. 4/9, 3/7, 3/8
In res. 1972-1983

1969 1983 Plumley Village Worcester MA    
1974 1983 Chancellor

Worcester MA   Harrington was installed as Bishop of Worcester Oct. 13, 1983
1983 1994         Harrington retired in 1994.
1994 1997 Retired       Harrington died March 23, 1997


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1947-1998)

Burnett v. Bishop of Springfield, MA Superior Court No. 05-0331(B), March 29, 2005
Church Defends Two Deceased Bishops Named in Sex Abuse Suit, The Associated Press, carried in Telegram & Gazette [Springfield MA], March 31, 2005
Groups Release Names of Bishops Accused of Abuse, Examiner, April 14, 2008 list of Accused U.S. Bishops, April 14, 2008
Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield Probing 8 More Abuse Claims, By Stephanie Barry, The Republican, December 3, 2008

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Harrington's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Aug. 11, 2012