Vincent Madeley Harris

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Vincent Madeley Harris (October 14, 1913 – March 31, 1988) was an American clergyman of the Catholic Church (Roman Rite). He served as Bishop of Beaumont (1966-1971) and Bishop of Austin (1971-1985).


Vincent Harris was born in Conroe, Texas, to George Malcolm and Margaret (née Madeley) Harris.[1] After graduating from Sam Houston High School in 1931, he attended St. Mary's Seminary in La Porte until 1934, when he was sent by Bishop Christopher Edward Byrne to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.[1] He there earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (1936) and Bachelor of Canon Law magna cum laude (1939).[2] While in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ralph Leo Hayes on March 19, 1938.[3]

Harris then furthered his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Licentiate of Canon Law in 1940.[2] Following his return to the Diocese of Galveston in 1940, he became a professor at St. Mary's Seminary in La Porte.[1] He was later named chancellor of the diocese in 1948 and a diocesan consultor in 1953.[2] He was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XII in 1956.[2]

On July 4, 1966, Harris was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Beaumont by Pope Paul VI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 28 from Bishop John Louis Morkovsky, with Bishops Leo Christopher Byrne and James John Hogan serving as co-consecrators, at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Houston.[3] For the next five years, he laid the foundations for the new diocese and implemented the decrees of the Second Vatican Council.[1]

On April 27, 1971, Harris was named Coadjutor Bishop of Austin and Titular Bishop of Rotaria.[3] He succeeded Bishop Louis Joseph Reicher as the second Bishop of Austin upon the latter's resignation on November 15, 1971.[3] He successfully challenged Bishop Reicher over ownership of trust funds established by Reicher in ecclesiastical and civil courts.[1] During his tenure, the diocese increased in Catholic population but suffered repeated financial difficulties.[1] Harris, following a slight stroke in 1984, resigned as Bishop of Austin on February 25, 1985.[3] He spent his retirement in Houston, Texas, pursuing various subjects of personal interest including genealogy, photography, and computer systems.[1]

On March 31, 1988, Harris died at St. Anthony Nursing Home in Houston, Texas. He was 74. He is buried at St. Anthony Cathedral in Beaumont, Texas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "HARRIS, VINCENT MADELEY (1913-1988)". The Handbook of Texas Online. 
  2. ^ a b c d Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Bishop Vincent Madeley Harris". [self-published source]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Louis Joseph Reicher
Bishop of Austin
Succeeded by
John E. McCarthy
Preceded by
Bishop of Beaumont
Succeeded by
Warren Louis Boudreaux