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Bishops pay tribute to retiring 'Red Box' chief

 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Bishop Declan Lang have paid tribute to Mgr John Corcoran for his 15 years' service as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, expressed the conference's "gratitude and appreciation" to Mgr Corcoran for his work with the 'Red Box' charity. In a letter of thanks, the Cardinal said Mgr Corcoran had strengthened bonds between St. Joseph's Missionary Society nd the Association for the Propagation of the Faith (APF) and increased support for the work of Society of St. Peter the Apostle through his many visits to mission seminaries. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor added: "In the 15 years Mgr John Corcoran has served the Pontifical Mission Societies, he has helped countless children and young people develop an interest in, and understanding of, the wider mission of the Church. "He has played a vital role in what is one of the most important areas of our work, supporting the missions in all parts of the world, and has enthused the next generation of young Catholics with a sense of the importance and vitality of our missionary work. "I know he gained great satisfaction from his work and I would like, on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales, to thank him for what has been a quite outstanding contribution over these years." Bishop Declan Lang, bishop with responsibility for evangelisation, said: "I would like to pay tribute to and thank Mgr John Corcoran for the 15 years he has worked as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. "His enthusiasm for the mission of the Church has made others aware of the universal nature of the Church. He has also enabled the Catholic community in England and Wales to be among the most generous supporters of the Mission Societies in helping the Church in other countries develop and grow. As he said in his final report, a Church with no sense of mission is dysfunctional for 'as fire exists by burning so the Church exists by mission'." Mgr Corcoran, a priest of the Diocese of Salford, said he had gained "immense satisfaction from working in a vital area" of Church activity. He said: "I am very privileged to have been working only with people committed to the faith. We are a big organisation in which people respond very positively to the needs of the Church overseas." The Pontifical Mission Societies support work in 1,077 mission dioceses worldwide. In England and Wales, there are about 25,000 volunteers and around 175,000 of the famous red boxes for donations. Mgr Corcoran left the role of National Director on Friday after handing over to his successor Fr John Dale. Source: Catholic Communcation Service