Important Dates, Events and Accomplishments in the Life of Msgr. Vincent Foy

  • 1832 Ireland, Birth of Nicholas Foy, my grandfather after whom I was named.
  • Nicholas Foy came to Canada by himself as a refugee on a boat during the famine in Ireland (when he was about 12 years old). Later he brought over his brother George, who has the largest cemetery monument in Ontario constructed at Mount Hope cemetery.  It took twenty horses to pull it up Yonge St.
  • 1880 Canada, birth of my father, Edward Basil Foy. He died at age 86 in 1968.
  • 1885 Birth of my mother, Josephine Walburgis Schnitzler in Ontario, Canada.  Her parents were born in Canada. They were dead by the time I was born in 1915. Her grandparents immigrated from Alsace-Lorraine (between France and Germany).
  • 1886 Nicholas Foy (born 1832) died of pneumonia, lived at 28 St. Alban’s Street, my aunts were Elizabeth and Babe and my uncle was John.
  • 1911 Death of Mary Foy, my grandmother (widow of Nicholas Foy). Her sister was my Aunt Delphine and her brother was my Uncle Jim.
  • 1912 My parents Edward Foy and Josephine Schnizler were married at St. Francis parish (originally on Queen St.).  They had 8 children.
  • August 14, 1915 I was born at home on 53 Dixon Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada to Josephine and Edward Foy.
  • I was second oldest of eight Siblings who were named Edward, Jack, Mary, Frank, Doreen, Jimmy, and Shirley.
  • Baptized at St. John’s Church, Toronto on August 29, 1915. Fr. Williams who baptized me is the first priest buried at St. Augustine’s Seminary.
  • The Foy family moved to 40 Fulton Avenue, Toronto, 1918.
  • Attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in Toronto, was top student of his class, 1921-28
  • First Holy Communion, Holy Name Catholic Church, Toronto, 1922 Age 7. “My classmate Jack Mitchell was killed that summer. He fell down Riverdale Park Hill and hit his head. All six pall bearers, including myself, became priests (Jack Miller, Andy Pinfold, Armand Desaulniers, Murray Allen, and another who joined the mission society).”
  • Honours Matriculation, De La Salle Catholic High School in Toronto, top student of his class, 1928-33
  • Confirmed at Holy Name Catholic Church, 1928
  • St. Augustine’s Seminary, top student of the class, 1933-39
  • Ordained to the deaconate one year before priesthood, June 1938
  • Ordained to the priesthood, June 3, 1939, age 23 (received two month age dispensation)
  • Note: “One of my classmates was Murray Allen, brother of Bishop Allen. We were both from Holy Name parish, were ordained together and offered our first Masses on the same day at Holy Name parish. I offered at 10am and he offered at 11am.”
  • Assistant, St. Catherine’s Church, St. Catherine’s Ontario, June-Sept 1939
  • Was sent for post-graduate studies, completed three-year doctoral course in Canon Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude (with top honours), Laval University, Quebec, 1939-42.  The courses were given in Latin and all of my classmates spoke French.
  • Assistant at Chancery Office, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Archdiocese of Toronto, Summers of 1939-42
  • Appointed Vice-Chancellor “in Spiritualibus”, Archdiocese of Toronto and Secretary of the Toronto Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal, 1942
  • Lived in residence at Blessed Sacrament parish in 1942-43 and also at St. Michael’s Palace in 1943
  • “Enjoyed” and suffered from poor health for much of his priesthood, contracted tuberculosis, became legally blind in one eye, had cataracts, lost partial hearing due to a viral infection, got hypothyroidism and underwent a botched tonsillectomy which led to frequent choking attacks.
  • On sick leave recovering from tuberculosis with a collapsed lung in the hospital in Hamilton, Ontario and San Gabriels, New York, 1944-46
  • Resided at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, 1946-66
  • Named the Secretary of the new Toronto Regional Matrimonal Tribunal (which covered the formal cases of the dioceses of Toronto, Hamilton, Peterborough, Sault Ste-Marie, London and Kingston), 1947
  • Was appointed and served as Defender of the Bond (Defensor Vinculi), 1948-53
  • Appointed and served as Vice Officialis (Judge), 1953-57
  • Named Presiding Judge (Officialis) of the Regional and Archdiocesan Tribunals for all cases, 1957-1966
  • Named a Domestic Prelate (Monsignor) by Pope Pius XII, Oct 15, 1957
  • Co-founder and honorary member of the Canadian Canon Law Society, 1965present
  • Named and served as pastor of my natal parish of St. John’s in Toronto, 1966-1973
  • Served as pastor of Holy Martyrs of Japan Church in Bradford and then St. Patrick’s Church in Phelpston, 1973-1977
  • Lived in Rome in an advocacy capacity, 1977-1978
  • In addition to other assignments, was appointed for many years in a part-time capacity as Director of Catechetics, Archdiocese of Toronto.
  • Upon “retirement” Monsignor continued his priestly ministry selflessly to serve the people of God and focused on prayer, avid spiritual reading and study including Catholic subjects, languages, health; writing booklets, articles, letters, and books (on pro-life and pro-family issues, orthodoxy, Catholic education & catechetics, liturgy, personal memories, biographies, obituaries, hobbies) and doing as much pastoral work as possible as spiritual director, confessor, advisor and preaching.
  • Served as chaplain for 25 years of the Pro Aliis Club. He was also chaplain of the Legion of Mary, helped religious orders and convents, promoted Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and has been active as a member of other groups including the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
  • Received award for “Most Conscientious Legion of Mary Director We Have Ever Known” (50 years ordained, age 74), 1989
  • Continued to reside independently and to drive a car into his nineties and consistently scored 100% on written driving test.
  • After attending a Call to Holiness conference in the USA and hearing Mother Angelica, Fr. John Hardon and other orthodox Catholic speakers, he helped found and has been a director of the Canadian chapter of Call to Holiness, since 1990s
  • Bishop Roman Danylak presented him with a 60th Ordination Anniversary Papal Blessing from John Paul II, 1999
  • Received a Human Life International Award of Excellence that included a large replica of an unborn child, 1999
  • Received the Pro-life man of the year award
  • Original hymn “A True Priest” first written in honour of Msgr Foy, 2004
  • Received a “Priests for Life Meritorious Service Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service in the Pro-Life Cause”, May 2009
  • Celebrated 70th Ordination Anniversary at age 93, June 3, 2009
  • Informed he would die within a few days, but instead chose to undergo and survived five surgeries within one month. Spent six months in hospital recovering from life support, a tracheotomy, feeding tube, hernia repair, partial hip replacement/repair, peritonitis, punctured colon and a colostomy. Had quite a miraculous recovery with tracheotomy, feeding tube and MRSA virus reversals. Since then, lived with a colostomy and recently had prostate surgery, 2009-2010
  • Started his own website msgrfoy.com and posted a selection of his writings, 2014
  • On June 3, 2014, as far as we have been able to discover, became the first known diocesan priest in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto (and possibly Canada) ever to celebrate his 75th year of ordination to the holy priesthood (Source: A Calendar of the Deceased Bishops, Priests, Deacons of the Archdiocese of Toronto).
  • On June 7, 2014, at his 75th ordination anniversary Mass and celebration, Cardinal Thomas Collins preached the homily and presented a papal blessing and message of commendation and gratitude from the Papal Nuncio on behalf of the Pope.
  • June 3, 2015 EWTN television premiere of the documentary “Msgr. Vincent Foy – Champion for Life”
  • On June 3, 2015 celebrated his 76th Ordination Anniversary as a diocesan priest.  He became the only and first diocesan priest to reach 76 years of ordination in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto and possibly Canada.
  • August 14, 2015, celebrated his 100th birthday.  In his 101st year of age. Monsignor Foy is the only surviving priest of the Class of 1939 of St. Augustine’s Seminary and retains the title as the oldest and first diocesan priest to reach 100 years of age ever in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
  • “Fearlessly articulated and defended the teachings of the Church through a time of moral and doctrinal chaos, especially in Canada. Best known for his untiring defense of Catholic teachings on marriage and family life and Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae”.
  • Msgr. Foy hopes to be remembered for his: “Fidelity to the Church and to the teachings of the Church… and trying to live that fidelity. We must stay with Peter.  Living the truth means that we are living with Love and in Love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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