Reverend John Emmanuel Hourihan, the son of Timothy and Julia O’Neill Hourihan was born on November 20, 1909 in Dunmanway, Cork, Ireland. He was more fortunate than many Irish because his parents weren’t in dire straits. Conscious of the poverty and wanting his parents had for their four sons to be concerned for others, they instilled in their children a love of reading and learning so they could help others make a better life for themselves. One became a teacher and school principal in Ireland. The other three came to the United States and became Priests. The younger brother James, became a Monsignor in Pasadena and served as a diocesan priest. And the older brother Brendan became a Carmelite Priest and spent his closing years with his brother at St. Albert’s.
"I was 15 when I left Ireland, a lad not knowing what to do with his life,” Father Emmanuel recalled. “Ireland in my times was very primitive and the salaries were low. The people depended on the farms, like my parents and they could make a decent living. Even during the famine there ware good crops. As children we read a lot and we had plays. And we had lots of sports”
Once in New York, he felt at home with the Irish Whitefriars, another name for the Carmelites because they sometimes wear a flowing white robe. The order always worked closely with the immigrants, especially those of Irish and German decent.
The order had a seminary in Middletown which became home to father Emmanuel.
He professed his first vows of chastity, obedience and poverty in the Order of Carmelites, Province of St. Elias, in 1934. He professed his solemn vows three years later and continued studying for the priesthood and on June 10, 1941, was ordained into the priesthood in Washington D.C. He returned to St. Albert’s to study before going to Catholic University, Washington, D.C. where he obtained a bachelor’s degree. He then went to Italy and studied theology at San Alberto, Rome and earned his master’s degree from Catholic University.
Fr. Hourihan worked as a teacher and master of studies at St. Albert’s Junior Seminary, Middletown from 1942 to 1953. He was pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Middletown, from 1953 to 1964 and worked with many surrounding missionary churches, including St. Paul’s in Bullville, Our lady of Assumption in Bloomingburg, Holy Cross in South Centerville and Our Lady of the Scapular in Unionville.
He was involved with a major fund raising campaign to build Mount Carmel School.He was parochial vicar at St. Simon Stock Parish, New York City, and at the Parish of Our Lady of the Scapular, Manhattan. He resided at St. Andrews parish, Pasadena, California and was a provincial counselor for several years before being called to retirement at St. Albert’s Priory, Middletown in 1987.He served as a member of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s Task Force from 1991 to 1994 and was involved with the pilgrimage ministry at the shrine as well as building of a shrine to Our Lady of Knock on the grounds of the National Shrine. This became his “Labor of Love” . It was Father Emmanuel’s wish that “the shrine be a quiet place for people of all faiths to meditate and escape from this age of skeptism and uneasiness. It’s all devoted to family and to peace. It will be around to serve generations and generations to come.”“
He was an exceptional priest and teacher. He taught a generation and a half of Carmelites at Middletown and was highly respected by many parishioners”, said the Rev. Matthias J. DesLauries, a former prior provincial of the order. “As a student of his, I’ll always remember how he never asked anything of us without getting involved himself, weather it was planting a tree or shoveling snow. He was a tremendous influence on all of us.”