By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Vincentian Father Michael J. Carroll, a Philadelphia native and former student chaplain at Archbishop Wood Catholic High School for Boys in Warminster, was recently elected provincial superior of the order’s eastern province.
“I’m happy to be provincial,” Father Carroll said.
The Congregation of the Mission, more commonly called the Vincentians, is a Catholic apostolic community of priests and brothers founded by St. Vincent de Paul to follow Christ and evangelize the poor.
“All religious communities follow an aspect of the Gospel,” Father Carroll said, adding that for Vincentians it is “Jesus as the evangelizer of the poor.”
Of his new role, the provincial said, “for me, it’s a privileged place to be to lead the community in this particular work.”
Father Carroll is stationed on the campus of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, also known as the Miraculous Medal Shrine, in the Germantown section of the city.
“We have a big presence in Germantown,” he said. In addition to the Miraculous Medal Shrine, the Vincentians also staff three parishes there: Immaculate Conception, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Francis of Assisi. For young adults, the Vincentians also sponsor a Vincentian evangelization center in the former convent of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
In addition to African American Catholics in Germantown, the Vincentians also serve Hispanic Catholics through an Hispanic evangelization team in North Philadelphia and South Philadelphia.
Prior to his election as provincial, Father Carroll served for 16 years at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., carrying out the work of faith formation. There, he served as vice president for campus ministry and for the university’s Rome campus, as well as executive vice president for student services and for mission and branch campuses.
At St. John’s University, Father Carroll also spearheaded the development of the Vincentian mission plan and inspired the creation of the Vincentian certificate program, a 16-month program of personal and professional development for St. John’s employees.
Father Carroll, 57, is the third of five children of the late James and Gladys Carroll. Baptized and raised in St. Raymond of Penafort Parish in Philadelphia, he graduated from St. Raymond School in 1964 and from Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote in 1968.
He credits his late uncle, Vincentian Father John Caine, as an early influence in his vocation.
Father Carroll entered the Vincentian novitiate on July 29, 1970. He was ordained on May 28, 1977 at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton by Allentown Bishop Joseph McShea.
He attended St. Joseph’s College in Princeton, N.J. and received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1973 from Niagara University in Niagara, N.Y. Father Carroll also earned master’s degrees in spaninity and theology from Mary Immaculate Seminary as well as a master’s degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago.
From 1984 to 1986, Father Carroll was the school minister at Archbishop Wood High School for Boys.
As provincial, Father Carroll succeeds Vincentian Father Thomas F. McKenna who is taking a sabbatical this fall in Washington, D.C. and is teaching next spring in Africa.
For information about the Vincentian provincialate, call (215) 713-2420. or write to Very Rev. Michael J. Carroll, C.M., at the Congregation of the Mission, 500 E. Chelten Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144.
For information about the Miraculous Medal Shrine, call (215) 848-1010 or visit the Web site www.cammonline.org.