• Missionary Union of Priest & Religious
  • Missionary Union of Priest & Religious
  • Missionary Union of Priest & Religious
  • Missionary Union of Priest & Religious
  • Missionary Union of Priest & Religious
  • Missionary Union of Priest & Religious

Christmas in Turkey


Ephesus.  Tarsus.  Cities of Sacred Scripture.  Cities tied to the Apostles of Jesus – the evangelist John, the missionary Paul.  One a city where our Blessed Mother is said to have come to live at the end of her life on earth.

As our “one family in mission” makes its way to a new year, National Director Father Andrew Small, OMI visits these and other places in Turkey (beginning December 27, and ending on New Year’s Day 2014), offering a look back, so we may move ahead, always with a missionary heart

Click here to learn more.

At the Close of the Year of Faith


The Year of Faith is now ended. We reflect on the teachings of two Popes — the catechesis began by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who launched the special observance and Pope Francis who continued the journey.

We remember as well the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples’ Campaign of Prayer for Evangelization which focused on the World Mission Rosary.

May the graces and blessings of the Year of Faith strengthen us as missionaries of faith, bringing Jesus’ message of hope and love to our world of need!




Missionary Union of Priest & Religious
Farewell ‘Good and Faithful Servant’ PDF Print E-mail

As the Year of Faith comes to a close, our “one family in mission” mourns the loss of a “good and faithful servant” of the Church and of the Missions, Bishop William J. McCormack, who was called home to the Lord on the evening of November 23.

National Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, one of the four Pontifical Mission Societies, for 21 years (1980 to 2001), he remains to date the longest tenured in that post.  He had also served as director in the Archdiocese of New York for six years some years earlier (1964 to 1970), and on the Society’s Board of Directors at that time as well.

“As he sought prayers always for the Missions, we pray for him on his journey home to the Lord, asking for the God’s embrace for His good and faithful servant,” said the current National Director Oblate Father Andrew Small on learning of his death.  “He offered us a witness for our missionary commitment during his lifetime, and we feel confident his service to our mission family will continue, now through his intercession.”

In a letter on his retirement as National Director, the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, offered gratitude for his “years of total dedication and service…to the Mission ad gentes.”  “This involved not only constantly increasing the financial contributions of the faithful in your country,” Cardinal Tomko wrote, “but also the growing awareness of the American faithful in regard to the mission activity which the Universal Church is undertaking throughout the world.”

Bishop McCormack holds the distinction of being ordained to the Episcopacy by Blessed Pope John Paul II, on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1987.  He chose as his Episcopal Motto, “Christ Must Increase,” speaking often of the model of John the Baptist, “to point always to Christ.”  It was, he would say, what missionaries do; it is, he would add, what we should all do.

During his time as National Director, he made missionary journeys, often documenting those visits through photographs, as well as audio and video interviews.  During one such trip in June 1991, Bishop McCormack ordained to the priesthood 13 young men from Nigeria, following their studies at the National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul.  Each would be sent as missionaries, outside Nigeria.  “Clearly it is a tremendous sacrifice for this young church to send out missionaries,” he wrote in MISSION magazine, “but the commitment has been made with generous faith.”  One of the photographs on the small table in Bishop McCormack’s room, there at the moment of his death, was a photograph from that day of ordination, a day of “great joy,” as he described it.

Bishop McCormack embraced the changes in delivering the message of the Missions, developing first a series of videos in which he interviewed missionaries (“Profiles in Faith”), relaunching MISSION magazine in a larger format, and then inaugurating the first website of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.  As archdiocesan director, he was often remembered as the “priest with the films,” as he journeyed to parishes and classrooms to tell of the heroic efforts of missionaries.

Bishop McCormack would write in MISSION of the growth of the faith and the Church in mission countries, but was quick to point to the heart of the Church’s missionary efforts:  “The Church’s task is to present the message of Jesus in word, Sacrament and service.  We realize that it is only the Lord Who gives the increase.”

In his final column in MISSION, as he retired as National Director, he offered this message:  “As National Director, I have tried to focus on our baptismal commitment – yours and mine – to be missionaries to all the world…. I pray that all of you may always experience the peace of the Person Who is at the very heart of mission:  Jesus Christ.”  And his message ended, as did his letters of thanks to mission supporters throughout the two-plus decades of his service, “I ask your own continued prayers for missionaries and for those they serve.”

Born January 24, 1924, Bishop McCormack was born and raised in New York City.  He attended Portsmouth Abbey High School in Rhode Island, where his classmate was the late Robert Kennedy.  The two would become and remain friends.  In fact, following Kennedy’s assassination in 1968, Bishop McCormack made the journey to Los Angeles to accompany the family and the late Senator back to New York, and then to his final resting place.  On the 20th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s death, in a Memorial Mass homily offered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s Lady Chapel, Bishop McCormack recalled “looking out the window of the car as we drove from Good Samaritan Hospital, where Bob died, to the Los Angeles Airport for the long, sad trip on Air Force I to New York.  …and there were the crowds that lined the train route to Washington, and across the bridge to Arlington Cemetery.”

Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York after studies at Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo on February 21, 1959, his priestly service included these archdiocesan posts:  Director, World Justice and Peace Office (1968 to 1976), and Vice Chancellor (1970 to 1980).  His parish assignments included St. Mary Star of the Sea on City Island in the Bronx, New York, and Holy Family Parish in Manhattan.

Bishop McCormack was elected chair (1989 to 1992) of the Committee on World Mission of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), during which time he convened a Symposium on World Mission, A Church for All Peoples:  Missionary Issues in a World Church.  Some of the featured presenters were now Archbishop Joseph Augustine DiNoia, O.P., the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, and Cardinal Francis E. George, OMI.  Bishop McCormack was a member of the USCCB Administrative Board, as well as the Committees on Justice and Peace, Social Development and International Policy.  He also served on the Board of Catholic Relief Services from 1992 to 1995.

 Bishop McCormack was ordained to the Episcopacy by Blessed Pope John Paul II


 As National Director, Bishop McCormack made many missionary journeys — his first to Thailand (1980)


Mass of Chrisitan Burial


A Mass of Chrisitan Burial will take place on Tuesday, November 26 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue in New York City. The celebrant for the Mass is Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Monsignor Ferdinando D. Berardi, former New York Archdiocesan Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, is homilist.