Harold Finn, OFM
1913 – 1994
Fr. Harold Finn, OFM, was born in Winsted, Conn., on Feb. 23, 1913. He received his primary education at his parish school, St. Anthony’s, and he attended Gilbert High School for his secondary education.
After four years at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y, he entered the Province’s novitiate in 1932 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J. He professed his temporary vows in 1933 and made his solemn profession of vows in 1936. In 1939, Fr. Harold was ordained a priest.
The desire to be a missionary was in his heart from his early days of formation, and Fr. Harold served as a missionary for 47 years in China and Japan. He went to China in 1940, shortly before America entered World War II. He was incarcerated in Peking immediately and spent his time learning the Chinese language. After the war, he remained in China, only to be subjected to incarceration by the communists and finally expelled from the country in 1952.
That same year, Fr. Harold was among the first Holy Name friars to go to Japan. For 35 years, he worked in the province of Gumma where he served as regional superior and long-time pastor of the parish in Kiryu, an ancient silk-making city of Japan.
Fr. Harold was so loved in the city for his works of charity at times of tragedy that the mayor once remarked he would be a contender for any mayoral race in the city. He possessed a big heart in a large body and was known among the Japanese people as a kind, gentle friar. His door was always open to people in need.
Due to physical ailments, which caused great pain, Fr. Harold returned to the United States to minister at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I. for the final years of his life. He is remembered for his humanness and great compassion toward the suffering.
He died Sept. 4, 1994, in his sleep at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Fr. Harold was 81 years old, a professed friar for 61 years and a priest for 55 years. He Mass of Christian Burial was at his parish church in Winsted, and he was interred in the parish cemetery near another great Franciscan missionary, Fr. Leo da Saracena.