Requiem mass held for late Reverend Father Noel Hanrahan

Ha (centre) giving his homily on the late Hanrahan. Seated at second right is Poh while on the right is Archbishop Emeritus Datuk Seri Peter Chung Hoan Ting.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, July 15: A requiem mass for the repose of the late Reverend Father Noel Hanrahan’s soul was held tonight at 7.30pm at St Joseph’s Cathedral here and presided over by Kuching Archbishop Simon Poh and Archbishop Emeritus Datuk John Ha.

Hanrahan of Mill Hill Missionaries (MHM), 90, passed away peacefully at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland on July 11, after a long battle with cancer.

His long and illustrious vocation has brought him to the far corners of the world and he was instrumental in training Catholic priests for Sarawak and Sabah during his tenure as Professor of Theology at St Peter’s College, Kuching from 1983-1998.

Hanrahan was born in Grangemockler, Co. Tipperary, Ireland on December 23, 1928 to William Hanrahan and Brdget McGrath. He had five brothers and three sisters.


Following his secondary education at Freshford, he studied philosophy in Rosenthal, the Netherlands from 1948-1950. From 1950-1954, he studied Theology at St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London. He took the Perpetual Oath on May 7, 1953 and was ordained as a priest at Mill Hill, London by Cardinal Griffin on July 11, 1954.

He the pursued his studies in Rome where he obtained a Doctorate in Divinity in 1958. He then began teaching Dogmatic Theology at Mill Hill, where he also held the post of post of Master of Discipline.

In 1968, he became president of the Missionary Institute London. A year earlier, he had been appointed as fourth consultor to the Superior General of MHM.

He was appointed as MHM’s Superior General in 1970 and served the society for two terms, until 1982.

“Travelling to all continents, he transmitted the message and spirit of the Vatican II model of the church missionaries and local church leaders,” read a statement from MHM issued here today.

A photo of the late Fr Noel Hanrahan taken while he was teaching at St Peter’s College in Kuching in the 1990s.

In 1988, he was Chapter Delegate of MHM for Malaysia and Indonesian.

On January 1999, following sick leave, he was appointed from Kuching to the Irish Region, where he served as chaplain at the Shine of Our Lady in Knock, Co. Mayo. He retired to St Joseph’s House Dublin in 2012.

On the occasion of his Ruby Jubilee, the then Superior General of MHM wrote: “You have exercised many ministries but you have always been the missionary priest witnessing to and making real for others the person and values of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Noel will be remembered both inside and outside our society as a wise and skillful leader, dedicated teacher and compassionate pastor”.

In recent years, Hanrahan had many hospital appointments to address the cancer in his body. Some months ago, he underwent an operation to remove a cancerous growth inside his mouth. Following some falls, he was admitted to St James Hospital on July 5 where he passed away in the presence of his nephew on July 11.

The funeral service was held at St Joseph’s House Rathgar yesterday and thereafter he was buried at Bohernabrenna Cemetery. — DayakDaily

Share this article!