Maryknoll Missionary Fr John Corcoran has died in Nepal

Fr John (right) in Nepal (photo by Rebecca Janes)

Fr John (right) in Nepal (photo by Rebecca Janes)

Father John Joseph Corcoran, MM, of  Newport, Rhode Island, died on Sunday, September 26, 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal.  He was 79 and a Maryknoll priest for 47 years.

After ordination to the priesthood on June 8, 1963, Corcoran was assigned to Korea (1963-72), where he did pastoral work in the Dioceses of Inchon and Pusan and watched the Korean Church take root and grow. During 1972,  Corcoran was named Maryknoll Regional Superior in Korea and was re-elected in 1978. He initiated a pig-raising project to provide meat and money to poor farmers, and parishioners soon grew the project to include more than 15,000 pigs.  During 1978-79, he served in a labor apostolate in Seong Nam, providing pastoral counseling and working for better conditions for migrants.

Returning to the United States (1980-85), Corcoran worked in the Society's Formation Education Department before he was appointed rector of the Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, New York. He was elected Vicar General during 1985 and served a six-year term as part of the Maryknoll General Council, the primary leadership body for the Society.  During 1991, Corcoran departed for Nepal, where he was instrumental in establishing a program for mentally handicapped women prisoners, and working at Aasha Deep (Light of Hope), a halfway house for mentally handicapped women in Kathmandu.

Corcoran returned to the US in 1996 and again was assigned to the Formation Education Department where he worked with Maryknoll seminarians and candidates attending the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. After  the completion of his three-year term of service, he returned to his  assignment in Nepal.  At the time of his death, he was working with the mentally ill and handicapped and associated with the Aasha Deep program.

"I once was told that a good way to look at Jesus is as a leader in breaking down barriers - between rich and poor, between Jew and Gentile, between those with religion and those without, between the ill and the well," Father Corcoran once said about mission service. "I think this iswhat it means to be a missioner."

Father Corcoran was born in Newport on May 2, 1931. He attended Calvert-Cranston Elementary School (1937-43), John Clark Junior High (1943-45), and graduated from Rogers High School (1949).  He earned a  bachelor's degree in history from Brown University in Providence, Rhode  Island (1953).  After serving as a diver with the US Navy (1953-57), Corcoran entered the Maryknoll Seminary (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) and earned master's degrees in theology and divinity from the Maryknoll Seminary (Ossining, New York).

Fr Corcoran is survived by his sister, Sister Anne B Corcoran, RHSM, of Marymount Convent, Tarrytown, New York, and his brothers Michael and Edward Corcoran, both of Middletown, Rhode Island, and William W Corcoran of Newport.

Wake and funeral services took place in Kathmandu, Nepal. A memorial Mass  will be celebrated at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Chapel, Maryknoll, New York, at a later date.

Memorial donations in Father Corcoran's name may be made to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, PO Box 302, Maryknoll, NY, 10545.

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is the chief mission outreach of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States that serves the poor in 27 countries. During 2011, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers will commemorate their centennial.  The theme of the  Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Centennial - The Gift of Mission - The  Maryknoll Journey - will celebrate the missionary  organization as it continues to share God's love combating poverty, providing healthcare, building communities and promoting human rights.

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