Rathcormac man elected to lead Society of African Missions worldwide
he 59-year-old priest was serving his second term as Provincial Leader when he was elected last week by 40 delegates attending the XX SMA General Assembly in Rome to lead the Society as Superior General for the coming six years.
He'll still be able to follow the fortunes of his local Bride Rovers team as well as following the progress of the Cork hurling and football teams only from much further afield a lot of the time.
Rathcormac native Fr Fachtna O'Driscoll's new role as the worldwide leader of the Society of African Missions, will see him travelling to and spending a lot of time in the coming years in countries from Egypt in the north to South Africa, from Morocco in the west to Kenya and Tanzania in the east.
The 59-year-old priest was serving his second term as Provincial Leader when he was elected last week by 40 delegates attending the XX SMA General Assembly in Rome to lead the Society as Superior General for the coming six years.
Fr O'Driscoll is the 13th successor to the SMA founder, Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac. He's the 5th Irishman to hold the office. Son of the late Jerome and Bridget (nee O'Connor), Fr O'Driscoll has two sisters, Kathleen and Noreen (Hogan) and two brothers, Gus and Brendan. Older brother Gus is also an SMA priest, serving as parish priest of the Good Shepherd Parish in Manila, Philippines.
Fr Fachtna received his primary schooling in Rathcormac National School and his secondary education at St Colman's College, Fermoy. He began his training with the SMA in Wilton, Cork, in September 1971. After taking his first oath of membership in June 1972, he went to the SMA house of studies at Maynooth where he studied for a BA and later a Bachelor of Divinity. He became a permanent member of the Society in 1978 and was ordained a priest in 1979.
A keen GAA fan, he played himself in his earlier years, winning medals in his Maynooth days with the college Fitzgibbon Cup hurling team and in the Devine Cup soccer competition with the SMA team.
A spell in Nigeria followed for Fr O'Driscoll, when, from 1979 to 1986, he served in Ekiti diocese. He was noted for his fluency in the Yoruba language there. He was recalled from Nigeria by his superiors and sent for further studies in counselling to Boston College in the US.
Having completed his Masters he was appointed as the Rector of SMA House in Maynooth, a post he held until he was elected to the Irish Provincial Council in 1995. As a member of that Council he had particular responsibility for justice and peace matters.
After his 6-year term of office he looked forward to a return to Africa but he was instead elected Provincial Leader at the 2001 Provincial Assembly and then re-elected in 2007. In that role for the past 12 year he participated in many international meetings of the Society and impressed many by his experience and balanced assessments. He has now been entrusted with leading the Society which has more than 800 priests and brothers from Africa, the Americas, Europe, India and the Philippines.
As a consequence of his election as Superior General,the Irish Province has elected Fr John Dunne from Mitchelstown as his successor.
Fr O'Driscoll was still at the General Assembly in Rome this week where he was to draw up and present a list of candidates for his Council which delegates would then elect members from to serve as Vicar General and councillors.
Thursday 2nd May 6:26pm