Born Louis Harrer in Brooklyn, New York on October 25, 1898 he attended St. Leonard’s Academy and entered St. Leonard’s Business School. He then went into business for four or five years on Wall Street. When he decided to enter the Passionists he went to the Passionist Preparatory Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland and later in Dunkirk, New York. He lived with men younger than his age. It was he who typed the manuscript of Father Felix Ward, C.P., The Passionist while the former was in studies in Dunkirk. He professed his vows on August 15, 1923 with the name Frederick Joseph. He was ordained to the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Monastery, Jamaica, New York on March 30, 1930 by Bishop Paul J. Nussbaum, C.P. of Marquette, Michigan.
For twenty of his thirty-three years as a Passionist, Father Harrer held the position of Provincial Secretary. This position he held consecutively from 1947 until his death in 1961. It was Provincial Justin Carey, C.P. who sought out Father Harrer’s skills as a secretary. In 1935 he was elected Rector of St. Joseph’s Monastery, Baltimore, Maryland. In 1938 he was appointed Rector of St. Michael’s Monastery, Union City, New Jersey. In 1941 Provincial Carrol Ring, C.P. once again asked Father Harrer to serve as Provincial Secretary. However, in 1942 Father Harrer was made pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, Union City which he served for five years. During this time lay societies expanded as did the popularity of “Veronica’s Veil.” He had St. Joseph Hall completely renovated. In 1947 Father Harrer was appointed Provincial Secretary by Father Gabriel Gorman, C.P. It was Father Harrer who was a key person in the publication the Province Newsletter which was initiated by Provincial Canisius Hazzlet, C.P. in 1959. In 1961 he had a heart attack.