Deacon Harris lived a life of service

  • October 12, 2011

ORILLIA, ONT. - It may have taken Deacon Bernie Harris 73 years to become a deacon, but his life of service had started long before that day he was ordained in 2003.

Deacon Harris had long been active in pastoral outreach before his ordination, as a hospital chaplain, a eucharistic minister, a prison visitor and a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society among others.

Deacon Harris passed away Sept. 29. He was in his 82nd year.

First enrolled in the diaconate program in the mid-1980s, Deacon Harris dropped out before finishing the program. But he was persuaded to apply again, was accepted and was allowed to graduate early because of his past experience.

At his funeral Oct. 4 at Orillia’s Guardian Angels parish, Deacon Harris was remembered by Deacon Alf Stong as a man who “walked with hundreds of people during their most desperate hours, listening to them, consoling them and offering them hope.”

A retired TTC worker, he had a great belief that the Holy Spirit would take care of people.

“Bernie’s actions were living proof that we don’t have to have all the answers,” Stong said. “We just have to be there and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest.”

Deacon Harris is survived by his wife, Margaret, to whom he was married 59 years, two children and numerous grandchildren.

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