With sadness, we announce the death of Fr Danny Horan. Fr Danny died peacefully in Ruislip Nursing Home in the evening of Sunday 23rd August.
Sympathy is extended to Fr Danny’s family and friends and to the clergy and parishioners of his former parishes in the diocese.
Fr Danny's funeral arrangements are made in accordance with protocols necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic, with numbers attending limited to 30 and no invitation to concelebrate.
Bishop John Sherrington will preside and Fr Keith Stoakes will give the homily at the Funeral Mass on Thursday 3rd September at 12noon at St Joseph’s, Wembley. It will be live streamed: www.churchservices.tv/wembley1
Burial will follow at Carpenders Park Cemetery.
Grant, we pray, O Lord,
That the soul of Fr Danny, your servant and priest,
Whom you honoured with sacred office
May exult forever in the glorious home of heaven.
May the soul of Fr Danny rest in peace. Amen.
‘Was it COVID?’ is the question asked in recent weeks following the death of a priest. It is understandable that such a question is asked during these months of the coronavirus pandemic, taking the lives of tens of thousands of people in this country. Since April several Westminster priests have died, Fr Danny is the twelfth. Four were in their 90s, and in their 80s and the other four were in their 70s. Fr Danny was 86 years of age. The cause or causes of death is shown on the medical certificate of death and signed by at least one doctor. The cause of death is of interest of course and especially to relatives of the deceased person. For Christians, as well as the cause of death the cause or causes for which a person lived is of great significance. Those who knew Fr Danny Horan will know that the cause for which he lived was to share his faith and his love.
Daniel Brendan Horan was born on 5th July 1934 to Anne and Anthony Horan and baptised three days later at St Patrick’s Church in Moate, County Westmeath in Ireland. He had one brother and four sisters. Danny grew up in Moate. His father died when Danny was nine years of age. The family came to rely on the generosity and love of the local community. He was educated locally and was a member of the local GAA football team. Throughout his life Danny maintained a strong attachment to, and interest in, the community. Danny took employment in the Custume Barracks in Athlone, working as a military police officer. Work also took him to Mullingar and Galway. But work opportunities were scarce in Ireland, and like so many others Danny left for a better future. The idea of a vocation to the priesthood came to Danny when 17 years of age, and it stayed with him. While in Galway, and still a young man, Danny learnt the Irish language and his sense of vocation deepened. Following his arrival in London, for work, Danny made contact with the Passionist Order to help with vocational discernment. But he found love in Kathleen O’Shea having met at a dance. They became engaged and then married on 25th July 1959 at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Quex Road in Kilburn. As Danny and Kathleen became close his sister Peggy and Murty O’Shea, Murty being Kathleen’s brother, became close. A brother and sister married a brother and sister and both couples bought houses in Wembley where they made their home. Danny and Kathleen were blessed with two children, Brendan and Gerard, and his sister and her husband had three. Peggy sadly died when the three children were young, and the two families Horan and O’Shea became as one. Danny was always a family man. Married life, and family life with the two children, suited him. He was happy, and he brought happiness to others including those in his wide circle of friends and members of the large local Irish community.
Danny was employed by London Transport as a bus driver and as a bus conductor. Later employment was with Guinness in Park Royal. Danny was a company representative with Guinness for over 20 years until 1993 and Kathleen’s diagnosis with cancer. This devoted husband cared for his sick wife until her death in October 1994. Danny was an active member of St Joseph’s parish, involved as a catechist and as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He invited the priests of the parish to celebrate Mass in his home. After the death of his beloved wife the lingering thoughts about priesthood again surfaced and Danny had to attend to these thoughts. His two sons were surprised at, and also supportive of, their father’s intentions. He received much encouragement from the Parish Priest, Fr Michael Stevens. ‘The call is there at the back of your mind. You follow it, your life changes, but it never completely goes out of your mind’ he said on his return to Ireland as Fr Danny soon after his ordination. Danny was accepted as a student for the priesthood by Cardinal Basil Hume and his formation was at Allen Hall, the Westminster diocesan seminary in London. He found the studies to be challenging but with encouragement from family, friends and the seminary community, and from his life of personal prayer and commitment to the faith and the Church, he persevered and was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at St Joseph’s in Wembley on 20th January 2001 at the age of 66.
Fr Danny returned to Ireland to celebrate first Masses in places where he was well known. He was proud of his Irish roots and kept them well watered spending time with family and friends and by living and celebrating his straightforward and deep faith. Fr Danny’s first appointment following his ordination was Assistant Priest at St John the Evangelist, Islington where he remained until 2002 when he went to St Gabriel’s, Archway where he served as Assistant Priest until 2005. He was then appointed Administrator of St Aidan’s, East Acton where he worked closely with Fr Keith Stoakes who was Parish Priest at the neighbouring parish of White City. In July 2016 Fr Danny retired from full time parish ministry. Age was beginning to catch up with him and he went to live with his family. Cardinal Vincent wrote to Fr Danny to wish him well in his new home and wrote ‘Most especially thank you for your characteristic generosity of spirit.’ Fr Danny continued to help out by celebrating Mass in local churches and he remained popular with clergy and parishioners. He was supported by the love he gave to and received from family and friends. In the last couple of years his health began to fail and his needs necessitated moving to the Poplars Care Home, Ruislip in March 2019 and then to Ruislip Nursing and Dementia Care Home where he died peacefully on 23rd August 2020.
Those who knew Fr Danny will remember him as a calm, patient and gentle man and priest. He had an even temperament, a good sense of humour and an endearing simplicity. He was a kind and compassionate pastor, always ready to minister the Lord’s mercy and love. He allowed people to become close to him, and he to them. And now we pray that he will be welcomed home to heaven to receive the reward of his life and work as a family man and as a man and priest of the Church.
May he rest in peace.