The Father John Foundation Logo


Monsignor John P. Hourihan, devoted most of his priestly life to caring for people with disabilities, especially the deaf and homeless families. He died September 10, 2008 at the age of 84 years young.


Father John was born in Manhattan. In November 1923, his Irish immigrant parents, Kathleen and John, moved to West Orange, NJ. He attended Seton Hall University majoring in Philosophy and Theology, going on to attend the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, and Catholic University in Washington DC where he studied for a Licentiate in Moral Theology. While there he interacted with students at Gallaudet College for the Deaf.


Father John was first assigned to St. Peter’s in Belleville, NJ as a pastoral associate for Youth and Family Life, later to the Mount Carmel Guild with pastoral responsibilities for people who were deaf or hard of hearing.


While meeting the spiritual needs of the deaf in the Guild’s program, he attended Columbia University, earning a Master’s Degree in Education of the Deaf, and qualified as an audiologist in the American Speech and Hearing Association.


Picture of Father John

In 1977, Archbishop Thomas Boland appointed Fr. John as Pastor of St. John’s Church in the heart of Newark’s business district where he began to direct his tireless efforts to help the poor in the City of Newark. During that twenty year period his parish, with the help of thousands of volunteers, fed over 2 million meals to the poor and homeless people of the area. St. John’s also opened its doors to struggling artists holding exhibits at the church. As pastor of St. John’s he celebrated many masses for the safety of the FBI agents and the officers of the New Jersey State Police. His dedication to his pastoral ministry was remembered in 2007 by Archbishop John Myers, who appointed him Pastor Emeritus.


Father John served church, state and professional organization in various capacities. He was elected president of the Newark Priests Association, and later to the Priest Senate of the Archdiocese. He was a member of the President Kennedy Advisory Committee on Teacher Training. He represented the State of New Jersey at White House conferences and as an advisor to the NJ Department of Education and the NJ Rehabilitation Commission and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Johnson. He was appointed as Vice-Chairman for the International Catholic Foundation for the Deaf.


He taught religion at St. Peter’s School and St. Bridget’s Catechetical School. He was an instructor in Medical Sociology at the School of Nursing in St. Michael’s Hospital, and as an Adjunct Professor at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Seton Hall University and Columbia.


During Fr. John’s retirement he would fill in as Chaplain at Fort Monmouth, NJ for the military-in-transition.


Fr. John always attributed his accomplishments and good done for others to those who assisted him and, most importantly, his family and friends.

Father John & Ronald Regan

ABOVE: Father John (left) joins American actor Nanette Fabray, a long time advocate for the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing, and President and Mrs. Ronald Regan.