Rev. Fr. Michael Corcoran is 55, 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
Easter Message 2017
Today is a time of mission and a time of courage. Courage to strengthen the tottering steps, to commit ourselves to the Gospel, to regain confidence in the strength that mission brings. It is a time of courage, although courage does not mean having no guarantee of success. What is required of us is courage to fight, not necessarily to win; to announce, not necessarily to convert. We are required to have the courage to be willing to not always conform in the world, but without ever becoming argumentative or aggressive. Required of us also is the courage to be open to all, to never belittle the absoluteness and uniqueness of Christ. We are required to have the courage to stand up to belief, without becoming arrogant.
We are asked to be missionaries of hope, continually reviewing and placing before God and our membership the life of our Mill Hill Society, with its yearnings and challenges, so that it is He who gives us light and hope. We are called to create, with our presence in the midst of the world, a society capable of recognizing the dignity of every person and of sharing the gift that each one is to the other.
We gather from different countries but share a common culture linked to our experience – a long tradition and a strong desire to listen to the same voice. It is not about expending a huge amount of effort or performing ‘super-human’ acts.
All it takes is just one person carrying out one simple loving act of mercy every day to start a revolution and stamp out the virus of indifference.
These ‘Powerful Witnesses’, make us think of our own lives and how to respond to situations of need all around us.
For us as Mill Hill Missionaries, it is a priority to go out and to meet the outcasts and the marginalised of our world, and to make felt the tender and merciful touch of Christ. Though we have a long and powerful legacy in many of the countries where we have worked and which I have experienced on recent visitations to Uganda and Cameroon, we do not have the luxury of resting on the fruit of what Mill Hill Missionaries before us have built. We cannot be a Church of maintenance. We are a Church and a Society ‘permanently in mission’, His disciples to all the nations, as He commanded.
Hence our new missionary out-reach to Cambodia over the next few years.
If we are going to make disciples in mission, we need to become signs of contradiction. In today’s world, that means we are called to embrace friendship, beauty, goodness, truth, weakness, suffering, joy and hope. If we are going to become the missionaries of this moment, it will be because we embrace the reality of human life, living fully and freely, because of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Becoming a sign of contradiction is not the same as being rebellious. Evangelisation is not a war with the world. Nor does becoming a sign of contradiction mean withdrawing from the world. The world is already mired in conflict and fractured. Becoming a sign of contradiction means witnessing to something more delightful, more profound, and more meaningful than what our world offers. Evangelisation is an invitation, expressed in love, to encounter and serve the living God and God’s people.
Mission is God going out. You, too, must.
Des, Andrew and Jimmy join me in wishing you every blessing in your ministry during this Lenten time as we move towards the celebration of Easter.
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