World Missions Ireland has announced that Father Michael O’Sullivan M.Afr. has been appointed as its new National Director. Father O’Sullivan returned to Ireland after more than twenty-five years of missionary service in the Middle East. He succeeds Father Martin Kelly, who was acting National Director of World Missions Ireland, following the untimely death of Father John Kilcrann, RIP.
Founded almost 200 years ago, World Missions Ireland (Pontifical Mission Societies) is the Pope’s official charity for overseas mission. It is part of a global network of 120 offices, many known as Missio, under the coordination of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Rome. Together they are the Holy Father’s chosen instrument for sharing the Gospel and building the Church throughout the world by helping everyone in need – regardless of their background or belief.
Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA, Chair of the Board of World Missions Ireland has welcomed Father O’Sullivan’s appointment. He said, “I would like to congratulate and warmly welcome Father Michael O’Sullivan, a member of the Missionaries of Africa, as the new Director of World Missions Ireland. He was recently appointed by Cardinal Filoni, at the time, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to this important position in the Church in Ireland.
“Father Michael’s appointment comes with extensive mission experience in Africa and the Middle East. His knowledge of today’s missionary challenges facing the Church will bring a new dimension to the work of World Missions Ireland. The Catholic Church in Ireland continues to assist in many different ways the younger churches as they deepen their faith and carry out the mission entrusted to all of us by Jesus Christ. Father Michael’s knowledge and missionary experience will be invaluable in the position that he now takes up. I know that he will be welcomed by the great staff at the World Missions Ireland office.”
Father O’Sullivan is from Kilrush, County Clare. He became interested in life as a missionary after his studies at the Cistercian College, Roscrea, and joined the White Fathers of Africa in Templeogue. Ordained in 1991, he spent a year in Algeria at the beginning of the civil war before further studies led him to Rome. He has held roles in counteries such as Sudan, Lebanon, Jerusalem, UAE, and was the local coordinator of the Holy Father’s historic visit to Abu Dhabi in 2019.
Commenting on his appointment, Father O’Sullivan said, “I feel privileged to have been chosen as World Missions Ireland’s National Director. It is indeed an honour to be working in an organisation that is driven to promote and support the life-giving work of our overseas missionaries. In these uncertain times, I am energised to be part of such a strong mission, a mission of purpose that positively impacts struggling overseas Church communities.
“I wish to thank Father Martin for his valuable contribution and for paving the way for my arrival. I wish him all the best in his new role. I will do my best to serve both the faithful of Ireland and our overseas missionaries by promoting their life-giving work with energy.”