Profile Michael McGrath

Fr Michael McGrath SMA


For most of his 40 years as a missionary Michael has been on assignment in Kaduna, Nigeria. His primary interest has been in catechetics: teaching and training catechists and writing books suitable for teaching catechetics in Africa.

He first made contact with SMA when in Secondary School he listened to the vocations director, Fr Michael Cummins SMA but expressed no interest. However, “Fr Cummins sent me greetings every Christmas and Easter and this persistence resulted in my making contact with him after I finished school when I did consider becoming a priest.”

Michael’s involvement in catechetics has brought him all over Africa and he has visited and worked in Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya besides Nigeria.

“I feel drawn to tell people about Jesus Christ through teaching and preaching the Gospel. Since I always felt Ireland had more than enough priests to do this, I wanted to be elsewhere. When I arrived in Nigeria I became passionately convinced that catechists and lay leaders are key in the work of evangelisation. The more one helps them to pass on the message, the better is Christ known and loved”, he says.

For many years Michael was responsible for the catechetical training centre at Malumfashi in Katsina, Nigeria. Here catechists and lay leaders have been trained for all the dioceses in the north of Nigeria.

Together with Sr Nicole Gregoire SA, Michael has published more than twenty books in a series known as Africa: Our Way, dealing with such issues as catechetics, counselling, marriage, homiletics. The series is widely-used in English-speaking countries of Africa and some have been translated into Hausa and Kiswahili.

“There is no such thing as a typical day in my life”, says Fr Michael. “Each day brings different ‘bits and pieces’, overseeing and running the bookshop, sending out orders, answering queries about the books. I often meet with groups of catechists and am available to the diocesan priests with queries about the RCIA”. Michael also conducts occasional seminars.

On the pastoral front he is chaplain to the Borstal Institute in Kaduna which caters for 300 delinquent youth. It is the only borstal in Nigeria. Every Sunday Michael spends 3-4 hours with the young people

Would you like to join Fr Michael in preaching the Good News?
Would you like to reach out to the young people of Africa?

Why not contact the SMA Vocations Director?



1940 Born: Abbeyshrule, Co Longford

1957-1964: Studies at Galway & Dromantine

1964: Permanent member of SMA

1964: Ordination

1965-71: Archdiocese of Kaduna, Nigeria – teaching, pastoral and catechetical work

1972: Catechetical studies at Gaba, Uganda

1973-93: Catechist Training programme at Malumfashi, Katsina State and writing the Africa: Our Way series

1994-date: Kaduna Archdiocese, writing and chaplaincy work

St. John’s House
P.O. Box 1444
Kaduna State
062-247 689
e-mail: [email protected]

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