The son of Irish immigrants, he grew up in the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, Brooklyn. His father was a New York City police officer and his mother a homemaker.
Father Hannon attended Cathedral Preparatory High School, Brooklyn, and continued on to Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington. Though he had been preparing for the Diocese of Brooklyn, shortly before his ordination the Vatican announced the creation of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He and his classmates were ordained June 1, 1957 for two different dioceses. Because his father had moved to Islip Terrace, Father Hannon came to the new diocese.
His first assignment was St. Joseph’s Church in Kings Park. After five years, he was assigned to a new parish, Holy Name Church in Woodbury. In an interview with The Long Island Catholic newspaper in 2007 he recalled his time there. “It was different. There was a potato field there, no church, and no place for the priests,” he said. “They told me at first, ‘Go on vacation.’” When he came back, “they told me, ‘Go on retreat.’”
After his retreat, he was assigned to live in the rectory at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Syosset. Later, the parish bought a house for the priests to live. “We had weekday Mass in the basement.” Sunday Mass was at the Syosset Theater on Jericho Turnpike until the church was built. “It was lonely at times, so you had to adapt, do home visits and discussion groups.”
In 1965 he became chaplain at Meadowbrook (now Nassau University) Hospital. “I loved the ministry. You couldn’t have something more important than taking care of the sick and the dying. Often, those who were dying were very inspiring,” he said. “I often played ball with the doctors. I got to understand the great pressure many are under.”
From 1966 to 1968 he was associate pastor at St. Ignatius Martyr Church, Long Beach. “It was a good experience, too. I met a variety of people. I started a Spanish Mass.” He’d taken graduate courses in Spanish, Italian, and French.
His other assignments included a summer as chaplain at Camp Molloy in 1968, followed by a three years as chaplain to the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood. He served as an associate pastor at St. Matthew’s in Dix Hills from 1971 to 1979 and at St. Jude’s in Mastic Beach from 1979 until 1990.
In 1990, he was transferred to Sacred Heart, Cutchogue and in 1995 to St. Anne, Brentwood where he served until his retirement in 2006.
Reflecting on his priesthood on his golden jubilee in 2007, Father Hannon said he felt satisfaction and gratitude. “I feel that being a priest was what I could do to best serve God and help people.”
“Every assignment, every parish I went to, I learned something and met different kinds of people,” Father Hannon said. “And everywhere you go, people need a priest.”
Father Hannon’s funeral Mass was celebrated on August 13 at the Church of St. Anne, Brentwood, followed by burial in St. John of God Cemetery, Central Islip.