Matthew J. Corcoran, O.S.A.

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1886 – 1930 (June 20)

Matthew John Corcoran, son of Michael Corcoran and Bridget Murphy, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 23, 1886, and baptized in St. Augustine’s Church there on August 1st. He was confirmed by Cardinal Gibbons in September, 1896. After attending public schools and Central High School, he entered the novitiate at Villanova on July 3, 1904, and made his profession of simple vows on July 4, 1905. In September of 1906, he sailed for Rome together with Mortimer Sullivan to continue studies there. The two friars made their solemn profession of vows on July 16, 1908 and were ordained to the priesthood by Monsignor Ceppetelli on July 4, 1909, in the Apollinare.

In August, the two newly ordained returned to the United States, and, after a brief stay at Villanova, Father Corcoran was assigned to Saint Rita’s Church in Philadelphia. In December, 1910 he was transferred to Villanova, where, several months later, he was appointed vice-president of Villanova College. In 1914 he was named subprior of the Villanova Monastery. He later returned to Saint Rita’s. where he spent 17 of his 21 years as a priest. While serving there as prior and pastor, he also helped the mission band on many occasions. He was also active in promoting and strengthening devotions to Saint Rita and later wrote about her in his “Our Own Saint Rita.”

During his pastorate, Father Corcoran introduced the “Three Hours Agony” devotion on Good Friday, and was one of the first Pastors in Philadelphia to do so. In 1924, he revived the publication of the “Good Counsel” magazine and was its editor until his death.

Father Corcoran was 44 when he died on June 20, 1930, at St. Joseph Hospital while undergoing surgery for cancer, after a six month illness. Present at his Requiem Mass at Saint Rita’s, in addition to friars, sisters, postulants from Mt. Saint Rita, Staten Island, family and parishioners, was Bishop James McCloskey of Jaro, the Philippines. Father Corcoran was buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.