Visitation of Msgr. Foy, March 17, 2017

Those that had the privilege of knowing Msgr. Foy are witnesses to his saintliness.  He lived out heroic charity, had holy and true brilliance and real common sense.    He had the grace to accept and to remain ever in harmony with God and His Will.  We saw that he practised prudence, humility and all of the virtues.  We were fortified and amazed as we experienced and were blessed through his pastoral and mystical gifts, insights and words of wisdom.  He did things with Love, very well and carefully.  This man was a true priest and Christian.

About a week before he died, Msgr. Foy had not yet been informed by his physician that he would soon be called Home.  In his 102nd year, even with his severe insomnia and a heavy cross of other ailments, his mind was kept sharp and clear.  He began having great difficulty breathing, and therefore, talking;  yet he managed to utter something sweet, in his usual gentle and delightful manner and tone, about St. Patricks’s day.

With hindsight, this  seemed like a prophetic hint that something special would be happening on that day.  We felt it was a confirmation when we were later told that the date set for his Visitation would be March 17, the Feast of St. Patrick.  Foy is an Irish family name and this was a fitting day for an Irish wake.  Msgr.’s mother, Josephine Schnitzler, was of German descent.

Since he is a priest, the Visitation was held at Holy Family Church, 1372 King St. West, Toronto, ON, from 2-9pm, instead of at the Funeral Home.  We were so pleased with and recommend Paul O’Connor Funeral Home. Paul O’Connor himself, his wife Margaret and family took excellent care of this special priest’s funeral.  It is a Foy family tradition to make arrangements with them.

The Visitation began with a ceremony officiated by Oratorian and pastor of Holy Family church, Fr. Martin Hilbert, who when he was a younger man, was Vice-President of the Legion of Mary Praesidium that Msgr. Foy was once director of.

A beautiful cross-shaped wreath of flowers was placed at the foot of the open casket and a vase of red and white roses was positioned at the head.   These were lovely surprise donation from the sacristan – a very kind and generous gesture indeed.  Six tall candle sticks were carefully set and burned brightly around his casket.

Throughout the Visitation, a reception took place in the church hall run by the parish’s ladies’ auxiliary and volunteers.  On the parish hall video screen, a projector played a 1.5 hour DVD with a collection of photos and memories of Msgr. Foy’s life set to music.

At 5:30pm, the usual parish Mass took place.  Msgr. Foy’s casket was closed and reopened after Mass.  Prayers were then led by a group of Legion of Mary members and friends, including the full Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy and hymns such as “Godhead here in Hiding Whom I do Adore”.  At 7:30pm, Fr. David Roche led the Stations of the Cross with singing.

“Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love.  Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in Adoration and contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world” (Dominicae Cenae).

During the Visitation, we were delighted and it was a tremendous grace to have Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament – the Real Presence of Christ in the Monstrance was made known and filled the church.  By taking Jesus out of the Tabernacle for adoration, we were able to experience the Presence of Christ in a powerful and special way.

Prayers continued until 9pm, including the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the singing of the Salve Regina and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”.  The casket was closed and a lovely black cloth pall with a cross on it and a scarlet vestment were respectfully draped over Msgr. Foy’s casket for the Funeral Mass.  His body was allowed to rest safely overnight before the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle at Holy Family church.

Paul O’Connor Funeral Home staff and the Oratorians of Holy Family parish and their staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to make sure everything went smoothly.  It was a great relief and consolation to have such prayerful, attentive, efficient and loving care.  All went the extra mile to give Msgr. Foy a beautiful, holy and reverent Visitation.

Many visitors signed the Guestbook with Condolences in the narthex of the church. Thanks to so many who gave such heartwarming, thoughtful and sincere condolences by phone, email, cards and in person.

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