Publishing the history & culture

of Southeastern New England • Since 1981

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ISBN 978-0932027-979

72 pages • 6” x 9”
20+ Photographs

A Call to Save

The Memoir of a Fire Chaplain

Msgr. Thomas Harrington

 If God had a divine plan for Thomas Harrington, he made it abundantly clear right from the start. Saint Lawrence Roman Catholic Church and Fire Station 5 loomed side by side across the street from Thomas’s boyhood home in New Bedford, Massachusetts. It was a foreshadowing of what would become his life’s work: the priesthood and the fire service.

 Thomas grew up to become Father Harrington, a catholic priest in the Diocese of Fall River, and eventually Monsignor Harrington. Meanwhile, he served as fire chaplain for several departments. While the firefighters responded to the call to save lives, Fr. Harrington answered his own call, to save souls. Together they worked and prayed…and shared some of the most dramatic, gut-wrenching, joyous, and awe-inspiring experiences imaginable.

 From raging conflagrations such as that which leveled Fall River’s Notre Dame Church in the 1980s…to the solemn march through Worcester in remembrance of six brothers lost in the smoke and flame of a warehouse in the 1990s, Msgr. Harrington’s journey—his own call to save—has brought him joy and sadness, compassion and courage. Above all, it has brought great admiration for the brave men and women of the fire service. This memoir is a tribute to them.

Monsignor Harrington has captured the joys and the sorrows of firefighting, and in particular, the work of the fire chaplain.

– Rev. James A. Tilbe, Chaplain and Firefighter/EMT, Raynham Fire Department, Treasurer, Massachusetts Corps of Fire Chaplains

It is a wonderful book... I recommend it!

 – Captain Andy Reardon, Norwell Fire Department and Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Reviews & Features

About the Author

Msgr. Thomas Harrington is a semi-retired catholic priest in the Massachusetts Diocese of Fall River. After graduating magna cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross, he received his JCL (canon law degree) from Catholic University of America. In addition to serving as a fire chaplain for 40 years, he has worked in Hyannis, Fall River, Taunton, and New Bedford parishes—all in southeastern Massachusetts—and as a lawyer for the diocese. His articles and reviews on issues and topics pertaining to canon law have been published in journals such as The Jurist, Catholic Lawyer, and Studia Canonica.

Msgr. Harrington has traveled the globe, visiting Rome, many other European capitals, and Israel. Forever a sports enthusiast, he enjoyed golf and hiking until health issues prevented them—even climbing New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington (elevation 6,288 ft.) twice.