- Personal Memories: 2010 Obituary of my dear sister Doreen Foy
- Monsignor Foy of Toronto Remembers His 75 Years of Priesthood
- “Courageous Words of Wisdom from Monsignor Vincent Foy”
- Msgr. Foy has his own YouTube channel and uploaded a few clips from his 75th Ordination Anniversary Mass
- Cardinal Collins giving blessings at my 75th Ordination Anniversary
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- Brief answers to interview questions on my 75th Ordination Anniversary
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Msgr. Foy is a retired priest and canon lawyer of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He was born in Toronto, Ontario on August 14, 1915, second of a family of eight children. He attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School and De La Salle High School in Toronto. In 1933 he entered St. Augustine’s Seminary and was ordained on June 3, 1939 by Archbishop, later Cardinal McGuigan. He was sent for post-graduate studies to Laval University in Quebec City where he took a doctoral course in Canon Law. In 1942 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Archdicoese of Toronto and Secretary of the Toronto Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal. In 1947, he was named the Secretary of the new Toronto Regional Tribunal, which he served later as Defender of the Bond and Judge. In 1957 he was named Presiding Judge of the Regional and Archdiocesan Tribunals. In the same year he was named a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XII. In a part time capacity for many years he was Director of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
He is a founder and honorary member of the Canadian Canon Law Society.
He was named pastor of his natal parish of St. John’s in Toronto in 1966 and was there until 1973. He then served as pastor of Holy Martyrs Church in Bradford and St. Patrick’s Church in Phelpston. In 1977 and 1978 he lived in Rome in an advocacy capacity. He served as chaplain for 25 years of the Pro Aliis Club and was chaplain also of the Legion of Mary, has helped religious orders and convents and been active in other groups including the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
Msgr. is the oldest priest in his Archdiocese and the only surviving priest of the class of 1939 of St. Augustine’s Seminary. For decades he has fearlessly articulated and defended the teachings of the Church – in a time of moral and doctrinal chaos in the Church in Canada. He is best known for his untiring defense of Catholic teachings on marriage and family life, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae. His efforts have earned him a papal commendation and the Pro-life Man of the Year Award. On June 3, 2014, he celebrates his 75th year of his ordination to the holy priesthood.
Monsignor Foy on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2014
Getting ready for my 75th Ordination Anniversary, age 98
Monsignor Foy of Toronto Remembers His 75 Years of Priesthood
98-Year-Old Priest a Staunch Defender of Humane Vitae
Toronto, July 30, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 666 hits
Here is a reflection offered by Monsignor Vincent Foy, a priest of Toronto, at celebrations last month marking his 75th anniversary of ordination.
Below his reflection is the text of the message from the apostolic nuncio of Canada, conveying Pope Francis’ congratulations for the occasion.
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Your Eminence, Rev. Msgrs., Rev. Fathers, Sisters and friends:
This occasion reminds me of many events in my priesthood.
Nearly ninety years ago my mother was in St. Michael’s Hospital during the birth of my sister Doreen. My mother’s younger sister was also in the hospital at the same time and died of double pneumonia while giving birth to her third child. My mother was not told of this but also contracted double pneumonia.
The doctor was certain she also would die and asked my father to prepare us. My father spoke to my two brothers and me. He told us that God was calling our mother to Heaven and that we must be brave.
After this, I paced the floor, tears running down my face. I told God that if he spared my mother, I would do my best to become a priest. That night my mother began to get better, to the surprise of the doctor. She lived to see her eight children reach maturity and died at the age of 84. I never told her of my promise.
From that time I never wavered in my resolve to try to become a priest.
While still in primary school, I was asked to give a talk at our Junior Holy Name Society. I spoke on The Duties of a Priest and still have the page-long talk.
In 1933, I entered St. Augustine’s Seminary, in the last class admitted by Archbishop Neil McNeil, who died in May of 1934.
Archbishop McGuigan succeeded him. He visited us in 1935 and told us there were too many of us for Toronto and that if we did not volunteer to go elsewhere, some of us would be asked to leave. We all went in, one by one, and told the rector Msgr. Brennan, that we would go wherever we were sent.
Two were sent to Kingston, two were sent to the new diocese of Nelson British Columbia, two to Victoria and two of us were sent away to study. There were thirty-four in our class, seventeen of them for Toronto.
I am the only survivor of the 34 ordained in 1939.None became bishops. There were six monsignors and six worked in foreign missions. One, Fr. Hank McFadden of Ogdensburg was a chaplain in World War II and decorated with a medal for bravery. Most became parish priests. Two became chancellors of their dioceses.
In September of 1938, the seminary rector Msgr. Brennan called me in. He said I would be ordained in ten days and the Archbishop would take me to Rome to take my last year of theology and first year of post-graduate canon law. I was to get my Mass up and was to tell no one but I could call my parents to say goodbye.
I studied hard to learn the Latin Mass and packed my bags.
The night before the date set for my ordination, I knocked on the rector’s door. I said ‘I believe I am to be ordained tomorrow.’ He looked surprised. ‘Oh’ he said, ‘I forgot to tell you. It is all off… unpack your bags. You are going to be ordained with the rest of the class next June. The Archbishop will take you to Rome next summer.’
So, I was ordained on June 3, 1939, and for the summer was stationed at St. Catherine’s Church in the Niagara Peninsula, which at that time was part of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The Archbishop visited me in mid-summer and told me to pack my bags at the end of August, when he would take me to Rome.
I packed my bags and was ready to go on the last day of August. That day, the war broke out, so I could not go. Fr. Cullinane, the pastor, told the school children that I had volunteered to go to Rome by submarine, but the Archbishop thought it was too dangerous.
I thought that was the end of it, but two weeks later, I had a phone call from the Archbishop – he told me to pack my bags and be at the chancery office the next day – I was going to the Catholic University at Washington.
The following morning, I was in the Archbishop’s office, he told me that Dr. Motry, Dean of the Canon Law faculty at Washington, was expecting me. Lectures had already started. He gave me the necessary papers, including my seminary marks and had the Chancellor, Fr. Callaghan, phone Dr. Motry. Dr. Motry said, “Yes, we are expecting Fr. Foy.” When he was asked where I was to go, he said “Oh, that is under Dr. Armand, who looks after the residence for student priests. You will have to phone him.” Fr. Callaghan phoned Dr. Armand who said: “I am sorry but we can’t take him. Because of the war, every room is taken.” Fr. Callaghan said, “You can unpack your bags. You are not going.”
When I told the Archbishop he said “Well, that is too bad. Oh, I just remembered. Two weeks ago, I had a letter from Fr. Bureau of Laval University in Quebec City. He said that because of the war, they were looking for students.”
So that night, I was on the train for Quebec, where I spent three years. There were thirteen students and twelve professors, some from Europe, including the world famous Gommarius Michels. I was the only one who spoke English. All courses in Canon Law were in Latin. Only the courses in Roman Law and International Law were in French, I lived at the “Maison des Etudiants” about half an hour walk from the university.
After my doctoral year, I was named Vice-Chancellor of Toronto. At first I lived at Blessed Sacrament parish rectory and went to the chancery office each day by streetcar. From a priest at Blessed Sacrament, I contracted tuberculosis and spent two years in bed. I was nine months in the Hamilton San. There I had one lung collapsed, was in a six-bed ward, and going downhill. When the Archbishop saw me, he had me transferred to San Gabriel’s, near Saranac Lake, New York.
It was run by the Sisters of Mercy and I received excellent care. After fifteen months there, I returned to Toronto and was Vice-Chancellor under Bishop Allen. In 1946, I was appointed to the Regional Matrimonial Tribunal and was there for over twenty years.
Next I was pastor of three parishes. I spent a year and a half in Rome, during the time of three popes. I had my rosary blessed by Pope Paul VI and served as Eucharistic minister at his funeral. Just before the coffin was closed, I touched my rosary to his hand. I had my rosary blessed by Pope John Paul I and again touched it to his hand when I served as Eucharistic minister at his funeral. I served at the first Mass of Pope John Paul II and my rosary was blessed by him. I hope to be buried with that rosary.
I had my share of sick calls. I recall that my knees were shaking when I climbed the firemen’s ladder to the top deck of a ship called the Noronic, when it burned in Toronto harbor in 1959 and 119 people were burned to death.
My greatest privilege of course was the celebration of Masses over so man years. I said Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico, at the church in Dublin, which had a major relic of St. Valentine, sent to Ireland by the pope as a sign of love during the famine of 1847, at Ars in France, at Lourdes, and in a small village in Hungary during the communist occupation. I offered Mass beside the body of Pope St. Pius X in St. Mark’s in Venice. He had said when he left for the conclave of 1903 that he would return to Venice living or dead.
My writings are on the Internet now. I agree with the great theologian Fr. John Hardon SJ, that the greatest evil in the Church today is the contraceptive mentality, which has left Canada and elsewhere with a suicidal birthrate.
My thanks are first of all due to God, the Father of all good, to Our Blessed Mother, to my parents and teachers and many others.
God bless you all. An inner voice is telling me that I should pack my bags for eternity. Amen.
June 3, 2014, http://www.msgrfoy.com
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Message from the Apostolic Nuncio for Canada with blessing in the name of Our Holy Father Pope Francis, read in a homily by His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins for Rev. Monsignor Vincent Foy’s Seventy-Fifth Ordination Anniversary Mass, in his ninety-ninth year of age:
“Dear Monsignor Foy,
On the momentous occasion of celebrations marking the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of your Priestly Ordination, His Holiness Pope Francis is pleased to communicate his prayerful greetings and assures you of his closeness in communion and in prayer as you mark what is surely a unique and historic moment in the life of the Archdiocese of Toronto and indeed, for the entire Church.
Since the day of your Ordination, June 3, 1939, you have served under five archbishops, giving to each that loyalty and obedience which you pledged to Archbishop (later Cardinal) McGuigan before the High Altar of St. Michael’s Cathedral so many years ago. You have generously accepted the various offices and appointments assigned, carrying them out with great dedication and zeal.
Since the years of an active retirement, you have been especially committed to providing a vigorous and invaluable defense of that great and prophetic Encyclical Letter of the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, Humanae vitae. Through your valiant efforts, dear Msgr. Vincent, may more and more people come to know its liberating truths and the great benefits and blessings that come from living in accord with its teaching.
May the celebrations marking your Seventy-Fifth Anniversary also inspire many young men to answer the call of the Master and ascend to the altar of God who gives exceeding joy (cf. Ps. 43).
In the name of Our Holy Father Pope Francis, I am please to convey to your dear Monsignor Foy, the Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace and joy in the Lord,
Fraternally Yours, Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio”
Msgr. Foy has his own YouTube channel and uploaded a few clips from his 75th Ordination Anniversary Mass
- How does it feel to celebrate 75 years as a priest?
I feel it has been a great privilege to celebrate Mass over all these years. I really feel blessed for my vocation and for the tremendous things God has done for me.
- What advice do you have for young priests who are just embarking on their voyage with God?
Stay close to the Church and be faithful to its teachings in all matters and have a strong prayer life. Remember that holiness is our principal calling. Remember that the greatest evil in the Church today is the contraceptive mentality. It is important to preach the truths of Humanae vitae regularly.
- Anything you’d like to add?
I would like to share with you a copy of a special letter I received on behalf of Pope Francis, from the Papal Nuncio, which Cardinal Thomas Collins read at the beginning of his homily for the occasion of my 75th Ordination Anniversary this year. (It is posted on my website).
God bless you,
Msgr. Vincent Foy
July 1, 2014
Here are my answers to more recent interview questions:
1. What effect do you think the Winnipeg Statement had on Canada in the late ’60s and 1970s?
First of all, it was a major cause of the suicidal birth rate. It was also a major cause of the contraceptive mentality and the “slippery slope” of adultery, fornication, venereal diseases, homosexuality, AIDS, pornography, radical feminism, sterilization, violence, child abuse, abortion, disintegration of marriage, increase of divorce, corrupt sex education (such as the “Fully Alive” sex instruction program in schools), euthanasia and the catastrophic loss of faith and morals that I have written about. This has contributed to the decline in our economy. The error of the Winnipeg Statement is quoted often in marriage preparation courses, in the confessional etc.
2. What effect, if any, do you think the Winnipeg Statement is having on Canada and Canadian Catholics today?
Today we are suffering from the evil effects (some of which I mentioned above) of the Winnipeg Statement. Couples often say ‘We know the bishops allow us to use contraceptives.’ Likely they have never heard of the Winnipeg Statement as such.
3. After “Liberating Potential” was released in 2008, do you think there will ever be any political will in the CCCB to revisit Winnipeg a third time? (I believe it was revisited in ’69 too.)
I pray that the CCCB will have the courage to admit and retract their previous error. Perhaps the newly appointed bishops will have the courage to repair and stop the damage.
4. Why do you think it’s important that the CCCB repeal Winnipeg today, even though it’s been 45 years?
It is essential that the error of the Winnipeg Statement be corrected. As Dietrich Von Hildebrand, one of the best theologians of the twentieth century, said: it is essential not only to assert the truth; it is also necessary to correct errors. The CCCB is morally obligated to officially retract the Winnipeg Statement.
5. Recently Justin Trudeau, a prominent Catholic, publicly dissented from Church teaching on abortion. Do you think this is a consequence of the Winnipeg Statement? If yes, why? If not, why do you think some Catholics have gotten to a point where they feel so comfortable blatantly opposing Church teaching?
I think it is one of the effects of the Winnipeg Statement. Justin Trudeau’s views and policies are heretical and anti-Catholic.
6. How would you answer those that say, “We don’t need to repeal the Winnipeg Statement because we have Liberating Potential, and other texts, that offer Catholics sufficient teaching on life issues?”
Currently, over 80% of women of childbearing age are using contraception. There are six times as many abortions through contraceptive use as there are through surgical means. Liberating Potential is a positive affirmation of Humanae vitae. As well, Dietrich Von Hildebrand says, it is necessary not only to teach the truth; but also to correct error. The Winnipeg Statement has never been specifically repudiated. I am very edified that we have so many current bishops in Canada, who had nothing to do with the publishing of the Winnipeg Statement and who peach and fully support Humanae vitae.
7. If the Winnipeg Statement is repealed, do you think it would have an effect on Canadian Catholics? And if so, what form would that take and how long of a process do you see that as being?
Yes, if with the repeal the doctrine of Humanae vitae were preached from every pulpit on frequent occasions. A repeal would take the form of a specific acknowledgement of the error of the Winnipeg Statement by the CCCB. It would help if the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would condemn the Winnipeg Statement by name. We know now that the heresy of Winnipeg Statement could not be repeated because the Holy See demands that any statement of a doctrinal nature by a bishops’ conference; must be approved by the Holy See. The Winnipeg Statement of course was and never will be approved by the Holy See. The Holy See speaks on behalf of the Pope to express the teaching of Christ and His Church.
8. Some Catholics today, such as Trudeau Jr., oppose Church teaching on contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. How does the Church change the hearts and minds of its members to better reflect the teachings of Humanae vitae, Veritatis Splendour, the Catechism of the Catholic Church etc.?
By frequent teaching of the truth by bishops and priests.
9. Where do you see the Church in Canada in twenty years — as it relates to the core issues of abortion, contraception, and euthanasia — as it stands in contrast to the secular culture’s embrace of these social issues?
Unless contraceptive practice by the majority is overcome, the Church in Canada will continue to decline. Muslims will gradually attain ascendency in terms of population increase and political power. While Muslims may be against abortion, contraception and homosexual acts; the Koran condemns Christianity. Sharia law and anti-Christian persecution would lead to the closing of our churches. Already there are more mosques in France than there are churches. More children attend mosques than churches. However, in other places where there are true Christians, the Church is growing in numbers, for example, in Africa and parts of India and other parts of the Far East. Vocations to the priesthood are increasing worldwide.
10. Is there anything else that you’d like to add? In summary, I believe that the greatest evil in the Church today is the contraceptive mentality resulting in a suicidal birthrate. It is true that the Winnipeg Statement is invalid because it is contrary to the teaching of the Church.
Msgr. Vincent Foy, PH, JCD
June 16, 2014