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, Spring 2020
Our Constitutions and Directives state that the General Chapter seeks to lead the Society to renewed dedication to its missionary calling (C55). Opportunities are being provided by Local Assemblies, Cluster meetings and all other Mill Hill forums to raise, reflect upon and discuss the issues that will be presented to Chapter 2020. The Blog opened on 1st January 2020, allowing for a medium of interactive discussion. Submissions on all levels will be collated into a final report and will be made available to the Chapter Delegates/Observers. In an earlier communication to the Members and Associates, I expressed a wish that in the time leading up to the Chapter, all our Members and Associates will find ways to submit their own concerns, views, recommendations and feelings concerning the missionary tasks of our Society. This time of Chapter preparation provides us all with the opportunities to deepen our commitment to God’s mission and clarifying our own vision of the future of our Society and discern how best we can love and serve.
On recent visitations particularly to Malaysia, North America and Kenya, I have once again encountered our Members and Associates reaching out to the scary edges in need of the light of the Gospel. Here and elsewhere, our missionaries stand side by side with the people they live and work with, shaping the future together no matter how big or small. Our Way of Life is marked by joys and sorrows, by lights and shadows. This is all part of our missionary commitment and encourages us to pursue our particular mission in the Church with renewed generosity. In today’s world we are ever more called to connect and interact well with people across a wide spectrum of ages, backgrounds, social strata and walks of life. Pope Francis in one of his quotes expressed succinctly and in a memorable manner, asks us in living out this commitment to “think well, feel well, do well and allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God”.
As missionaries in the situations of our daily life we must anchor our ministry in relationship with Christ. As compassionate Shepherds we are called to be close to our people. We seek to live a modest life-style and above all to be available – making the church a house with open doors. In all of this we must acknowledge and admit our limitations: Where is my heart? Is it among the people, involved in their joys and sufferings or rather among the things of the world, worldly affairs, my private space? None of us became a missionary in pursuit of power, human glory or economic wellbeing, but to serve, to love, to share our faith and give of ourselves to others. Our focus is on shedding the arrogance of the past and putting on personal and corporate humility, in Christ-like fashion, serving humanity.
‘That they may have life in abundance’, our Chapter 2020 logo urges to deepen our charism and renew our impetus for active evangelisation in existing and new arenas with openness and in situations of particular need that are characteristic of our time. Listening to God and responding willingly and generously to what God asks of us in mission, for this is God’s mission, not our own. ‘Beloved Amazon’ speaks about splendor, drama, mystery, addressed to all people and to us journeying as Society into the future.
Des, Andrew and Jimmy join me in wishing you every blessing in your ministry.
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