Homeschoolers are the future of the Church and from you will come the bulk of future vocations. This is precisely because you are imparting the faith to your children – that is your vocation!
— Rev. Kevin Horrigan
to SLCHA Mothers on the Feast of St. Augustine 2002
Father Horrigan passed away on Sunday, November 7, 2004. A funeral Mass was celebrated November 10 at the Carmelite Monastery in Clayton. Archbishop Raymond Burke was the principal celebrant. Father James Ramacciotti delivered the homily.
Father Horrigan was ordained as a Benedictine priest May 30, 1953. He came to St. Louis in 1976 to serve on the faculty of Cardinal Glennon College, and became a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1980. He also served as a chaplain at the Bishop DuBourg Convent in South St. Louis and Ursuline Convent in Kirkwood. He was named chaplain to the Carmelites in 1987.
For more than ten years, Father Horrigan faithfully served as spiritual director for the St. Louis Catholic Homeschool Association. He was instrumental in the formation of our Association, as well as our governing charter. Under Father Horrigan’s leadership SLCHA grew from a fledgling group of 12 families in 1988 into a structured support group of over 200 families. We owe our success and unity to him. Father Horrigan was there to lead, guide, advise and encourage us. Most importantly he was there to pray for us.
In January of 2003, when Father finally had to step down as SLCHA spiritual director, he personally recruited another faithful priest, Father Timothy Elliott, to accept the post. In March of the same year Father Horrigan celebrated his 50th anniversary to the priesthood.
Over the years Father Horrigan has advised many of our families, guiding them in questions concerning religious formation, curriculum, family life, and more. He was always generous with the Sacraments and his time. In Lent, he would drive to our children’s club to lead the Stations and Benediction. He always attended our annual homeschool conference, until noon, when he had to leave to hear confessions. He had a wonderful knack for laughing at the folly of the modern world, and he was always so encouraging to families even as he warned us to be vigilant.
All the homeschoolers will miss Father so much. Many of the teens in the choir that sang at his Funeral Mass have been in our homeschool group from the beginning. Father Horrigan has watched them grow up and has encouraged vocations among them. He has touched the lives of so many Catholic homeschooling families and we are eternally grateful.
It is a privilege as well as an obligation to remember and pray for those who have gone before us, those to whom we owe so much. If our prayers are efficacious, they are freed from Purgatory, they gain heaven and will intercede for us. This is a marvelous act of charity as well as an act of reparation for our sins. Do so daily and God will reward you a hundred-fold.
— Rev. Kevin Horrigan
Feast of All Souls 2002
Fr. Elliott Reflects:
May the soul of Father Kevin Horrigan rest in peace! During the month of November Father Horrigan died and went to his judgment before Jesus Christ as all souls must do. He would want us to pray for him because he firmly believed in all the teachings of the Catholic Church, including the need to pray for the souls in Purgatory.
Loyalty to the Catholic faith is probably the hallmark of Father’s life. He taught and preached in fidelity to the doctrines of the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church under the direction of the authentic Magisterium of the Pope. He desired to support all those who would help advance the true mission of the Church, especially when they could find little or no support elsewhere. In the home school movement he saw a fertile field of the kind of faithfulness that would strengthen the Church and win souls for Christ. He knew that solid vocations to the priesthood and religious life would come from homeschool families and that men and women of faith would be formed to start their own families in the future. Tearing down is quick and easy; building up is long and laborious. Father knew that well.
Father Horrigan’s priesthood of over 50 years (he was ordained on May 30, 1953) covered a very difficult time in the history of the Church. He saw many of the teachings of our faith, based on a clear and venerable philosophy and theology, denied or obscured by heresy and igno- rance and this hurt him deeply. One of his sayings (in the seminary we had a whole list of Horriganisms!) was “the inmates are running the asylum.” In spite of the fact that orthodoxy was under constant attack from within, even by some priests and bishops, Father Horrigan did not back down from the true faith. He continued to teach and especially to touch lives through the Sacrament of Penance.For many years he heard confessions daily at the Carmelite Monastery. There he touched many lives and supported the faith of many people while dispensing the mercy of God in that great Sacrament of forgiveness. You could count on Father Horrigan for answers that were full of wisdom and based on a profound knowledge of the faith. You only had to see his room full of books to know that here was a man who read and studied.
Thank you for your loyalty to the Church and the St. Louis Catholic Homeschool Association, Father Horrigan, and may God grant you eternal rest from all your labors.
— Rev. Timothy P. Elliott
SLCHA Spiritual Director
Archbishop Raymond Burke on Father Horrigan:
And let us be ever more diligent in praying and working to encourage the young men of our families and our parishes whom God may be calling to follow Fr. Horrigan’s footsteps in the ordained priesthood.
I issue a special call to the homeschooling families that they for whom Father had such a great affection and indicate to you my hope that from your families there will be coming forth many new vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. I ask you, in your homes, that you school in your homes and make that prayer a daily prayer.
I understand that Father was concerned that everybody maintain the discipline of their life and not interrupt it in caring for him, as good and holy a priest as he was. Thank you Sisters (Carmelites D.C.J.) and Msgr. Granich.
May Ever Virgin Mary who is the mother of all priests intercede for Fr. Horrigan’s eternal rest and also intercede for the intentions of his family and friends, his brother priests of this great Archdiocese, and for the intentions of those whom he served so generously as a faithful shepard of the flock.
Excerpted from Archbishop Burke’s closing remarks following Father Horrigan’s Funeral Mass at the Carmelite Monastery, November 10, 2004
Father Horrigan was greatly devoted to Our Holy Father, John Paul II. This passage was one of his favorites.
“Non temere – Fear not.” This is the constituent element of the vocation. For man fears. He fears, not only to be called to the priesthood, he also fears to be called to life, to his duties, to a profession, to marriage. He fears. This fear also reveals a sense of responsibility, but not of mature responsibility.
One must accept the call, one must listen, one must receive, one must measure one’s strength and answer, “Yes, yes.” Fear not. Fear not, because you have found grace. Do not fear life. Do not fear your maternity. Do not fear your marriage. Do not fear your priesthood, for you have found grace. This certainty, this consciousness, helps us as it help Mary.
“Earth and heaven await your ‘yes,’ O Virgin most pure.” These are the words of St. Bernard . . . famous, most beautiful words. They await your ‘yes,’ Mary . . . Here is Mary’s response . . . a yes which suffices for a whole life.
Reprinted from Fr. Horrigan’s Funeral Mass program.