Much loved Wanganui ‘people’s priest’ dies

Fr Bill Corcoran

When the news spread of the death of 92-year-old Fr Bill Corcoran on July 4, there was raw sadness felt for loss of this much loved and respected priest.

Fr Bill Corcoran

Fr Bill Corcoran

He was able to drive a vehicle until a couple of months ago when he became seriously sick.
But there were also sighs of Alleluia that his driving days would be over after a couple of spine-tingling near misses recently.
William Corcoran was born in Newcastle in County Tipperary, Ireland.
Leaving school, he went farming and discovered this was not for him and then studied for the priesthood.
After ordination he responded to Archbishop O’Shea’s recruitment drive for priests in New Zealand. He worked in the parishes in Wellington archdiocese and in Palmerston North diocese.
When he celebrated 60 years of priesthood on June 11, 2010, he recalled two memorable occasions in his life.
The first was his trip home to celebrate his 50th jubilee. The second was the 1968 Inangahua earthquake.
“Based in Reefton 30 kilometres south, the church was destroyed. The area didn’t have any access for four months because of bridges collapsing,” Fr Corcoran said at the time.
Retiring to Wanganui in 1998, he became known for somehow hearing of someone struggling, bereft or needing encouragement and then visiting them.
“His jokes and pastoral concerns made him a people’s priest and held him in high esteem with everyone,” said his long time friend Fr Des Levins during his homily at the vigil Mass.
A requiem Mass was celebrated by Bishop Charles Drennan in St Brigid’s Church in Pahiatua on July 9.
Fr Corcoran had already bought a burial plot in that area.

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