Monsignor Tom Horgan '32
Written on the 18 April 2018 by Old Collegians Association
Monsignor Tom Horgan
Exert from 2001 Rostrevor Magazine
Rostrevor Year 12 students Simon Lloyd and Michael Romeo made a small presentation to Mgr Horgan on behalf of the student body of Rostrevor College in commemoration of his 60 years as a priest. Left to Right: Br John Bourke ('27), Simon Lloyd, Mr. Michael O'Grady ('34), Mgr Tom Horgan ('32), Mr. Simon Kelly (Rostrevor S&E Coordinator) and Michael Romeo.
Monsignor Tom Horgan ('32) recently celebrated his 60th year as a priest. A large congregation of well-wishers joined him in celebration at his Jubilee Mass at Our Lady of Victories at Glenelg on Friday 27th July 2002.
The former Vicar General has remained a very loyal old scholar of Rostrevor and in recent years has donated to the Memorabilia Room a range of Rostrevor College memorabilia including a number of signed menus from his days as a boarder.
Red & Black acknowledges his life's work in the service of God and thanks him for making himself available to help compose the following profile. Thomas Erwin Horgan is the only son of Thomas and Margaret (nee Dempsey) Horgan. Both sides of his family hailed from the mid-north, Manoora, Mintaro and Farrell Flat. His father was a boarder at CBC Wakefield St in the 1880s along with his uncle Jack Horgan.
Mgr Tom Horgan trails a procession of 15 priests who co-celebrated his Jubilee Mass at our Lady of Victories at Glenelg.
Mgr Tom Horgan attended Rostrevor as a boarder from Glenelg in 1927. He represented the College at the highest level in cricket and football as well as a range of academic areas, all with distinction.
However, the 1932 Annual Literary Society Review reported that 'Except for unnecessary humour in the papers of Messrs Horgan and Ryan, the speeches were of a high standard!' (The Ryan referred to is probably his good friend Vin Ryan who passed away prematurely after serving in World War 11.)
It is pleasing to note that Tom Horgan has maintained his sense of humour as was evident at his celebratory Mass.
From the 1927 Annual: Sub Intermediate Class -A Section.
In 1933 he went back to work on his family's farm at Manoora with his uncle Dan Horgan, a noted West Adelaide footballer. In I934 he answered his vocational call and spent the next 4 years at Corpus Christian College Seminary in Werribee and then three years in Rome studying Theology before the War broke out at which time he chose to return to Werribee to complete his studies. While in Rome he met with Pope Pious XI on two occasions and clearly recalls his exhortation to condemn what he described as 'exaggerated Nationalism' - a reference to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini and their philosophies.Tom Horgan was ordained by Archbishop Beovich on 27th July 1941. Also ordained at the ceremony was another Rostrevor old boy, Eddie Reardon. It is interesting to note that of Mgr Horgan's Rostrevor contemporaries a significant number were ordained as priests or Christian Brothers: Ken Donohue, John Bourke, John Davey, Edward Gryst, Harry Wilkins, Luke Roberts, and John O'Loughlin, who became Rostrevor's first Bishop as the Bishop of Darwin, are a number that came to mind.
Red&Black inquired of Mgr Horgan what factors helped contribute to his religious vocation. He explained that although this was not an easy question to answer in short, he placed emphasis on his family life (of his sisters Joan joined the Dominican Order), the direction and the example of the Christian Brothers, the pan prayer played in his personal and family life and the influence of life in a boarding school environment. In 1942 he commenced work at West Terrace and then was sent to Mount Gambier as Assistant Priest. In 1945 he had an unexpected call to teach Philosophy at the recently opened Seminary at Morialta where he spent 5 years. He then moved on to be Assistant Priest at Colonel Light Gardens and in 1954 was appointed the first PP of the new parish, St Mary, where he worked for 17 years.
From the 1929 Annual: Music Pupils.
In 1971 he was appointed Vicar General and worked in the Thebarton Parish for 10 years before moving to Victor Harbour, Glenelg and Semaphore over the next ten years. At the age of 75 he retired from regular Parish commitments but currently assists at Tappeiner Court Nursing Home at Kensington celebrating Mass there three times a week and he alternates between Thebarton and Edwardstown for a Sunday Mass.
His recollections of life at Rostrevor as a Boarder in the late 20s and early 30s are extensive.
His first dormitory was what was known as the Entrance Dorm which was the room which lead out to the Balcony Dorm. This is currently the Registrar's Office. The landing area at the top of the stairs in Rostrevor House was known as the Bubs Dorm as this is where the Junior boys slept. He also slept in the Bungalow Dorm.
He recalls that Br Coghlan had his room near the Rostrevor House balcony. One morning when Br Coghlan was running late, a message was sent for the boys in his class to assemble on the front lawns. Br Coghlan then proceeded to conduct the first lesson of the day from the balcony adjacent his room, to the boys below, whilst shaving!
From the 1930 Annual: Second Eleven.
When playing Under Thirteen football in 1928 he recalls a game against St Peters where Br Gurr instructed the team to play only to Jim 'Mower' Rice for scoring. By the last quarter 'Mower' had kicked 25 goals when the ball found its way into Tom Horgan's hands un the square. He turned and kicked the 26th and final goal but was chastised by Br Gurr after the game for selfishness. Tom was captain of the team that year and just for the record, Jim Rice, Vice-Captain, kicked 94 goals for the season eclipsing his previous year's record of 86 goals.
Tom Horgan's memories of his days at Rostrevor are as clear as if it were yesterday. Special people in his life at Rostrevor need to be mentioned here, albeit briefly. Matron Blanche Bloxham and handyman Edgar Page made an impression on Tom for their kindness and contributions to Rostrevor. He recalls assisting Mr. Page and Br Nugent with work on the new swimming pool that was opened in 1931.
From the 1932 Annual: First Eighteen.
Other Brothers (and nick-names) he remembers fondly are: Br Ridley (Little Black Rabbit), Br Segrave (Davy Jones) and Br Rahill whom he recalls once christened his Leaving Honours class the 'Chloroformed Beetles'. Tom recalls Br Rahill as a most dedicated teacher of the Humanities subjects and a very enthusiastic Senior Sports Master.
Tom was such a well-respected student l he was permitted to transport the boarders in the College car, a Willeys Knight, to the football each Saturday. The Rostrevor Old Collegians' extend their congratulations to Mgr Horgan for his lifetime achievements and thank him for his loyalty and contributions to Rostrevor College over his 74-year association with his Alma Mater.
Author: Old Collegians Association