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, Autumn 2019
The month of October 2019 was designated by Pope Francis as an Extraordinary Month of Mission. A month of renewal, in which the Pope called us to rededicate ourselves as missionary disciples spreading the Good News. In today’s world, he appealed for a new impulse to the Church’s missionary activity needed to face the challenge of proclaiming Jesus, reaching the scary edges, human, cultural and religious settings still foreign to the Gospel – Missio ad Gentes. The dream of celebrating this Extraordinary Month of Mission was to engender a new missionary spring for all those baptised and sent. Pope Francis is careful to ground the Church’s missionary work in the life of God, the person of Christ, the baptism of believers. To be a missionary is not only to do good things for others: it is to be grounded in the very goodness of God in such a way that sharing and showing forth that goodness is our only option.
As Mill Hill Missionaries we are called every day to renew our missionary commitment and give fresh evangelical impulse to our work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ. We are constantly challenged to be courageously practical in sharing the treasure of our faith freely and without excluding anyone. We are called as missionaries to provide God with opportunities to express his love for the world. In this we follow the charism of our Founder, Herbert Vaughan, going to those abandoned or forgotten, in areas few others would dare to live, among those who, for one reason or another, have been left out of the Church’s circle of compassion. In caring for the peoples entrusted to our pastoral care, the missionary mandate to be active fishers of people is ever there, reaching to those we often regard as outsiders. With our hearts on fire, we will naturally want to reach out to everyone in works of mission, social justice and charitable service.
As I travel our Mill Hill world I am heartened that we continue to launch out to the scary edges, the outskirts. In recent years this source of great blessing as good shepherds willing to enter into the chaos of people’s lives has taken shape. Cambodia, Busaana in Uganda, a return to the Maasai apostolate, Bojongo in Francophone Cameroon, the Vietnamese community in The Netherlands, White Plains in New York, the promising foundations being laid in Kinshasa, war torn Juba in South Sudan, St. Edmund Campion in England, a resumption of our presence in the Holy city of Varanasi and exploring new beginnings in the Archdiocese of Jaro, The Philippines. This is Good News and often more than appears. We continue with the outreach and pastoral care of our Spanish and Portuguese speaking peoples in the Netherlands. Our Young Members, meeting in Manila hold Mission to the West as a missionary out reach that requires further exploration and commitment.
I encourage you all to be a source of blessing for your people, bless them, anoint them, make them have a spring in their step, exude joy, laugh at yourself, give affection, be committed to quality in ministry, speak to the heart of people from your heart. Missionary dynamism is clearly alive, and it is only alive if there is the joy of the Gospel. Thank you for your dynamism.
We have entered a new stage in preparation for our General Chapter 2020 with the election of our delegates. The opening of the Chapter Blog in January 2020 together with our Assembly’s will offer us an opportunity to reflect on how each one of us individually and as a Mill Hill Society is a mission to the world.
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