Date of Birth: 30/11/1889
Date of Death: 12/07/1950
Date of Ordination: 30/11/1917
Date of Installation: 30/11/-0001

Fr Peter Maurice Horgan

Biography:

Early Life

Peter Maurice Horgan was born in 1890 at Tarlee in South Australia. He was educated at Christian Brothers College, Wakefield Street, Adelaide and his studies for the priesthood were undertaken at St Patrick’s College, Manly NSW. He was ordained in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on November 30, 1917.

Appointments

His early priestly ministry was in the parishes of Balaklava, Brighton and then he was appointed Parish Priest of Birdwood on July 31, 1924. Finally he was appointed Parish Priest of Colonel Light Gardens in 1928. That was where he ministered for the rest of his life.

One of his many achievements was his work as chairman of the Catholic Hour Committee, a position he held for six years. The Catholic Hour radio program first went to air on December 12, 1943. At the end of 1949 he retired due to ill-health. In accepting his resignation Archbishop Beovich paid tribute to Fr Horgan’s work. He said the Catholic Hour was one of the outstanding works of the archdiocese and for that thanks are due to the Catholic Hour Committee and responsibility for such success rested mainly on the shoulders of Fr Horgan – “his wisdom securely guided the members of the Committee”.

At Colonel Light Gardens Fr Horgan was noted for his great support of the Holy Name Society. On one occasion when Archbishop Killian was visiting, Fr Horgan said he had never met a finer class of men in life then the men of the Holy Name Society in Colonel Light Gardens. And the Archbishop commented on the “strong spirit of religion manifested by the men of the parish.”

Death and obsequies

Fr Horgan died in Calvary Hospital on Wednesday July 12, 1950.

That evening his body was brought to St Theresa’s Church at Colonel Light Gardens, the holy Rosary was recited and the members of the Holy Name Society watched in prayer throughout the night. Next morning Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Theresa’s Church and in the evening the Office of the Dead was chanted in the Cathedral.

Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on July 14 and the celebrant was Fr Thomas Horgan, a cousin of Fr Peter. In the absence of the Archbishop who was in Rome for an ‘ad limina’ visit, the panegyric was delivered by Mgr Hourigan, the Vicar General. He described Fr Horgan as an example to every priest, “a man of solid holiness and solid common sense. His company was always enjoyable because he always had something to say worthwhile hearing, but however entertaining he was in conversation, his speech was never uncharitable.”

Fr Horgan was buried in the Centennial Park Cemetery where hundreds of people gathered and the students of St Mary’s Dominican Convent Cabra formed a guard of honour.

Tributes

Following his death a rather unique tribute appeared in the form of a full front page feature in The Southern Cross newspaper on August 27, 1950. It acknowledged Fr Horgan’s many contributions to the life of the church under several headings. It spoke of his great care for youth with the establishment of youth clubs and weekly dances. His care for migrants and for soldiers and their families – there was a Military Camp in Colonel Light Gardens during the War. Then there was his work on the Catholic Hour, his support for the Holy Name Society, for works of Charity, especially the St Vincent de Paul, the regular parish functions, the annual parish picnic, his famous working bees, his hospitality to visitors. It was often said his parish was ‘well horganised’ – to his great amusement.

The article referred to his “direct approach” as one of his notable characteristics, sometimes quite forthright, almost embarrassing. But he was truly loved by his people – he was a true father to his people.

A further tribute was the launching of a special appeal to establish a new infant school in the Colonel Light Gardens parish to be known as the ‘Rev P M Horgan Memorial School’. For some weeks following The Southern Cross acknowledged the many contributions made to this appeal.

May he rest in peace.



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