Rev. Fr. Michael Corcoran is 59, is Irish, and was born and baptised on 7th March 1960 in Kilkenny, Ireland. He responded to a missionary call and went to our MHM minor seminary St. Joseph’s College, Freshford , Ireland (1973 to 1978) . This was followed by major missionary formation in Roosendaal, the Netherlands, and then in St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, where he made his Perpetual Missionary Commitment on 29th January 1985 and was subsequently ordained priest 18th August 1985 in Galmoy, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, and was appointed to Soroti, Diocese. Uganda. He continued to serve in East Aftrica in the following years, including being Vocations Director and Regional, and was elected to the General Council in 2005, with special responsibility for our missions in Africa. Having completed his five year term, he was later elected MHM Regional in Ireland and President of the Irish Missionary Union which he is still at the time of his election as General Superior of our Society.
He was elected 12th General Superior of the Mill Hill Missionaries on Monday 15th June 2015.
Message from the Superior General, Summer 2019
We are all aware that Pope Francis has declared October 2019 to be an Extraordinary Month of Mission (EMM), being 100 years since Pope Benedict XV’s teaching on mission. It will be a special month of prayer and action, calling all of us to renew our missionary commitment to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with all peoples. In our world today we are very much aware that there still remains an enormous task to communicate the love of God to all nations, bearing witness to the Risen Jesus and his Gospel.
As we look back to our own beginnings, we do so with gratitude for the cherished legacy that our charism has brought forth in our Mill Hill Society’s life over the past one hundred and fifty years, thanks to the fidelity of those who preceded us. At the same time, we are fully aware of our continuing potential to benefit the Church and the world as we ‘evangelise to the ends of the earth’. We can do this by listening to what the Spirit says to us today, and by our openness to the questions and concerns of our fellow men and women. We will be able to discover the wellspring of renewed strength, make courageous decisions and explore creative expressions of the mission which we have received. The changed situation of our world with respect to the past, and the new challenges it presents to the Church’s mission of evangelisation, demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “new wine” of the Gospel to many people as a source of joy and hope.
Thus, the task of every Christian and our own ministry as missionaries in this world is to open areas of salvation, as cells of regeneration capable of restoring new life. The true sharer of the Good News is not lamenting and angry but convinced, by the strength of the Resurrection, that no evil is infinite, no night is without end, no person is definitively mistaken, no hatred is invincible. Sometimes the disciple will certainly pay a dear price for this hope given to them by Jesus, evident in our own recent history. In the risen Christ, we can continue to hope. The men and women who have a “why” for living endure more than others especially in difficult times. Whoever has Christ truly by their side no longer fears and because of this we as missionaries are never easy and accommodating, one with the people.
There must be no lessening of the impetus to preach the Gospel to those who are far from Christ, because that is the first task of the Church, one of the worst discriminations that the poor suffer is the lack of spiritual care. We must not fail to offer them God’s friendship, blessing, word, the celebration of the sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith. Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care (EG 200). My recent visits to Pakistan and Uganda clearly show that we have heard this message and continue to do so as we undertake ‘new beginnings’ in Cambodia.
In the coming weeks as we move into the stage for the election of our delegates for Chapter 2020, we are reminded of the theme ‘that they may have life in abundance’. In response to the Great Commission of Jesus to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’, we will have opportunities provided by local Assemblies and all other Mill Hill meetings to raise, reflect upon and discuss the issues that will be presented to the Chapter. In continuity with the mission of Jesus, we are open to the joy of the Gospel, and with courage beckon the Holy Spirit to create newness in ways we bear witness to the nations.
Michael Corcoran MHM
To Mill Hill Students in Cameroon: Travelling companions – what does that mean?
To use a phrase from Pope Francis, all of us are called to wake up the world. How do we do this?
By living and communicating the message of Jesus Christ. Our Missionary way of life is part of that communication of the Word, of how our humanity was saved through God’s loving action and how the way we live our humanity must reflect the loving kindness of God. Our life is missionary and our formation should not be oriented only towards personal growth but also how we are to care for God’s people. Hopefully our formation is not only to produce administrators or managers but people who are brothers and sisters and – ‘travelling companions’.
Travelling companions – what does that mean? We missionaries are called to a prophetic life. We must more than ever speak to people through our lives – called to be prophets by demonstrating how Jesus lived on earth. We are called to light the way to the future and walk with others on that way. Our Missionary life is not an end in itself, but a service to God’s people on their journey.
I have written this in my messages in our Central Newsletters that waking up the world is not making news headlines – it always involves encounter and personal contact. It is about being alongside the men and women of our times in their own struggles in life and especially those who are on the periphery of society. As I said yesterday that periphery does not always refer to geographical or economic peripheries of Society – though this is also vital – but of the profound peripheries of alienation and hopelessness and suffering and search for meaning that exists among the men and women of our time. We are to be travelling companions who journey with others step by step in their search, not lecturers or moralisers who simply tell other people where they should be.
Missionary life is not just about doing things. It is about doing things in a different way. It is about witness and attraction. We must never tire of this. We are called to live life authentically in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in – our life is a never –ending challenge irrespective of increased age or numbers.
vital thing that we missionaries can do is pray- not just pray for someone but show what prayer means in a world where doing and having possessions seem to be the sole order of the day. Your life of prayer is also a prophecy. It is witnessing to the mystery of God’s presence among us. It is witnessing to the fact that God cares, that God loves, that God reaches out to us, even if his ways are mysterious. We have to learn to share our prayer life with others and guide people in prayer. This cannot be privatised. Your prayer is a service for the whole church and cannot be enclosed within the walls of your chapel.
Wake up the world – Pope Francis has a great gift of characteristically simple and striking language. His language is earthy: it is not earthy for our entertainment, but it is profoundly provocative and challenging. Perhaps my favourite comment of Pope Francis in his meeting with religious superiors, was when he said: our life is not a bottle of distilled water. Again what does this mean?
It means that we do not need a missionary life that is crystal clear, tasteless, insipid and safe. Our Missionary way of life must make noise, uproar and even a mess.
They are the Pope’s words and I like them. Noise and uproar and and making a mess were and in some cases still not on high on the instruction list of Formators. Those in formation were taught not to stand out, formed in conformity. Our charism as missionaries is not one of conformity. It is like yeast which even when you are not aware is always causing ferment and changing and developing. This is what the prophecy of missionary life is like. That is what the great missionaries were always like.
God called each one of us by name and still challenges us by name to respond and to find in our commitment to Jesus the fullness of our humanity. We need renewal in the Church. The Church will never renew by looking inwards. We can never be just and inward looking Society preoccupied by our own challenges. The moment we become over concerned with our inward challenges the more we will actually become more inward looking and never the out going reflection of the challenging and prophetic message of Jesus who cares.
Let us become more travelling companions seeking to live our Christian life more authentically and with renewed enthusiasm. May the Lord be our travelling companion and our guide as we reflect on the word and break the bread of communion.
Amare et Servire.
21st January 2017