In surprise move, Seton Hall Prep headmaster taking over as pastor of Short Hills parish

North Jersey Record

Sept. 23, 2019

By Abbott Koloff

The headmaster of Seton Hall Preparatory School has been tapped to take over as pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills, a move that came as a surprise both to the high school’s community and to those in the wealthy Catholic parish that has apparently been having some financial struggles.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, told officials at the diocesan high school this week about his decision to move Monsignor Robert Harahan, its headmaster, to St. Rose of Lima parish, according to a letter sent to the school’s community on Saturday.

“Msgr. Harahan’s appointment is a surprise to him and all of us,” the letter said. It was signed by Harahan and Seton Hall Prep President Monsignor Michael Kelly. “It was a decision made by the Cardinal out of urgent pastoral concern for the good of the parish.”

It was unclear why the move was being made with such apparent urgency, and why Harahan was being moved weeks after the school year already started. A spokeswoman for the Newark Archdiocese did not respond to messages seeking comment.

A recent St. Rose of Lima bulletin shows that the parish had been running a budget deficit of more than $24,000 and that recent donations were down from the same period last year by about 15%.

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