07 June 2010

Death of Columban Father Thomas O'Hanlon in Pakistan

Fr Thomas O'Hanlon (above and below) died in hospital in Lahore last night, Sunday 5 June, at 10:54 local time. He had a mild stroke on 25 May but four days later had a relapse and ws admitted to the ICU.

Father Tommy, as most of us knew him, was from County Kerry, Ireland, and entered the Columban seminary late in September 1963. He was a few weeks later than his classmates. However, he had a good reason to be late: on the thrid Sunday of September he captained the Kerry Minor (under-18) Gaelic Football team to victory in that year's Minor All-Ireland championship. He was ordained in December 1969 and went to Mindanao, Philippines, in 1970. He served there till 1979 when he went with the first group of Columbans to our new mission in Pakistan.

Father Tommy was given the name 'Tanvir' by an elderly man shortly after his arrival in Pakistan. The name means 'inner light'. Father Tomás King, the Columban coordinator in Pakistan, said of our late confrere, 'Tanvir has passed on but his light burns in the lives and memories of the people he encountered and touched. he was passionate for justice which in later years evolved into a passion for the care of the Earth.' He had a doggedness about him too that could be exasperating at times but was never obstructive or negative. Something of his passion is captured in the photo above, which appeared in the American Columban magazine, Columban Mission, in 1996, as did the other photos here.

Fr Pat McCaffrey

Father King wrote of his death: 'Tanvir died peacefully in the presence of Columban Lay Missionaries, Sisters and Fathers after anointing and while the rosary was being recited.'

Coming so soon after the sudden death of my classmate, Fr Pat McCaffrey (photo above) in Pakistan on 18 May, this is devastating for the Columban priests, Sisters and lay missionaries in Pakistan. Father Tommy was 64 or 65 and Father Pat 66. I know you will keep them all in your prayers.


熙辰 said...


Niall said...

On behalf of the McCaffrey family, I'd would like to pass on our sympahties to the O'Hanlon family. You are in our thoughts at this time.

mary said...

we will all miss u so much sympathies to the o hanlon family and his extended family of brothers and sisters in christ memorial mass on 26th june 2010 st.marys church tarbert at 11.pm

Martin said...

Sorry to hear of death of Fr.Tom .
Our thoughts are with his family, his parishioners, friends and the Columban Fathers.
Please send some photos to dalyskennelly@eircom.net