One of the photographs on the College History page (“College People”) is of the last group of students to be ordained from the College before the Spanish Civil War impacted on life in Valladolid and the student body had to be sent home. The picture is from 1936 and shows four newly ordained men with the then Rector, Mgr James Humble and Vice-Rector, Dr James Connolly. On the far right in the front row is Fr John Haran, of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, ordained on May 30th 1936 in Valladolid Cathedral and now about to return home to take up his first appointment.
Fr Haran would return to Scotland to work as an assistant priest first of all in St Mary’s, Abercromby Street and then in St Thomas’s Riddrie. When the new Diocese of Paisley was created in 1947, Fr Haran, by now serving in St Mirin’s Parish in Paisley, became a priest of that diocese, serving in a number of parishes there. He became parish priest of St Fillan’s, Houston and later at St Patrick’s in Greenock from where he retired. In his retirement, he moved to Ireland and became a well-known supply priest around Sligo, but remained a regular visitor back to Scotland, in particular for meetings of the “Ambrosian Society” of former students of the College in Spain, a place he would visit regularly over the years.
Father – later Canon – Haran was said to be a “man o’ pairts”, with a keen interest in the sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, as well as his own motor mechanic!
He was involved in a serious road accident well into his 80s, but discharged himself from hospital in order to make the journey to Salamanca to take part in the 1996 blessing and official opening of the newly-refurbished College in October of that year. He had just celebrated his diamond jubilee as a priest – 60 years on from the picture above. It was to be his last visit – of the many over the years – he would make to the Real Colegio de Escoceses, as he died in June the following year. May he rest in peace.
Below is a photograph of Canon Haran taken during that visit in 1996. He is seated in the new College cloister, perhaps at prayer, perhaps resting, perhaps pondering the remarkable life of priestly service which had begun 60 years before in a different city, but the same alma mater.