Fr. John Hanrahan, 1949 – 1969

The parish was without a priest for a couple of weeks after Msgr. Forgarty’s death. When his replacement arrived and introduced himself, it was reported that Fr. Hanrahan “spoke in a beautiful cultured brogue.” The dark and seeming shy priest from Ireland immediately “went to work” and turned the parish into one of the most active in the archdiocese.

Former parishioners who remember him, fondly heap praises on him. Fr. Hanrahan was a man “with a big smile and big heart.” He was called a “jewel in Archbishop Duke’s administration.” Many remember him as “a real pastor who preferred to remain a priest than to be a bishop.” With nostalgia, parishioners will recall how much Fr. Hanrahan “cared deeply and made you feel that you belong.” It was noted that “he strongly believed he was responsible for every soul in his parish, regardless of their religious beliefs.”

Fr. Hanrahan served the parish for 20 years. His health began to fail during his last years at St. Anthony’s. It was said that he was afraid that he would drop the Holy Eucharist while saying mass, and to prevent his hand from shaking, he would overdose on medication.

The well known and much loved priest died at St. Paul’s Hospital on January 10, 1976. Sixty priests concelebrated his Christian burial held at St. Anthony’s church. Archbishop James Carney said of him, “… he wouldn’t crush the broken reed or quench the smoking flax. He loved the Church and the people who belonged to it. He didn’t want to upset a quarreling among them… he had the wisdom of the church and often that is a great cross. For to those who have the wisdom of the Church the foolishness of those who quarrel with their spiritual mother is hard to bear.”

Fr. Hanrahan was educated at Enniskeene and St. Finbaris, Cork. He studied philosophy and theology at St. Keran’s College, Kilkenny, and Canon Law at the Irish College in Rome. He was ordained in 1938. He served in Kamloops, Princeton, and at the Holy Rosary Cathedral before coming to St. Anthony’s Parish.