The Pontifical North American College (NAC) on Sunday officially installed its new rector, Fr. Peter Harman.

The Illinois native was formally installed as the 23rd rector of the Rome-based American seminary at Mass, during which he made his Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith.    

“It is with real humility that I stand here today,” the new rector said, during a banquet following the Mass.    

“Although I never imagined becoming Rector, I know accepting this role is how God can use my service for His good.”

Archbishop Newark and College Board of Governors Chairman, Archbishop John Myers, served as the principal celebrant at the Feb. 28 Mass.

“We are grateful to Fr. Peter Harman and the other formators and faculty of the Pontifical North American College for having assumed the responsibility of leading this great community,” Archbishop Myers said in his homily.    

Other notable guests at Sunday's event included Archbishop Jorge Carlos Patron Wong, Secretary for Seminaries at the Congregation for Clergy, and Ken Hackett, the US Ambassador to the Holy See.

Fr. Harman replaces Msgr. James Checchio, who recently stepped down after serving as NAC rector for 10 years.

“To have a priest of Father Harman’s caliber with his pastoral and educational background will be a blessing for the seminarians and priests entrusted to his care,” Msgr. Checchio said at the time the new appointment was made.

An alumnus of the NAC, Fr. Harman began his studies at the seminary in 1995, and was ordained in 1999.     

After a stint in Springfield, Illinois, he returned to the Pontifical North American College, where he most recently served as director of pastoral formation, and adjunct instructor in theology at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University.

More than 5,000 priests have been formed at the NAC since its establishment in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX. Currently, more than 250 men are receiving formation at the seminary.