Attestation to the Sanctity of Msgr. Foy by Deacon Daniel

Msgr 70th Ordination Ann 2009 Dcn Dauvin

In 2009, I received an invitation by Monsignor Vincent Foy to attend the celebration of his 70th ordination anniversary as a priest. Little did I realize that, arriving at the church, I would have the privilege of serving at the altar with Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto.

It was an encouragement for me to take part in honouring this tireless pro-life veteran.  When Msgr. Foy wheeled his walker to the front of the altar to give a talk and was helped into a chair, I gazed at him with pride and joy, but also with a certain reverence.

Our family had exchanged letters with Monsignor Foy over many years as we worked together to rebuild the Church of Christ as best we could, especially through the pro-life movement.  Monsignor’s charity, generosity and encouragement meant a great deal to us.  He would send something “for stamps” so that we could reach more people through the written word.

Often he would send a little extra, since he knew of our work in the Canadian missions and that we depended on God’s providence for our needs. This wonderful man was like a father to us. This wonderful priest was like a father to us.  Our faith was strengthened by his example.

Who was Monsignor Foy?  I often picture Monsignor, as a fierce pro-life warrior, sword in hand and shield held high, walking ahead of me “fighting the good fight of the faith and crossing swords with anyone, just anyone, who would dare attack the Church founded by our Lord, Jesus Christ Himself.”   Monsignor was a truly Catholic man who loved the church, his priesthood, the Eucharist, Our Lady and all the saints. His fidelity to Christ and his patience were key to his whole ministry. He was in “for the long haul.” To him life was not a game. It was actually saving souls and babies in the womb and enabling them to lead a good life and go to Heaven. It was as simple as that. God also blessed him with a sense of humour and a happy smile. At times he would even entertain others with his magic tricks.

Though in relatively good health, he patiently endured certain ailments as well as the aches and pains of a long, long old age. Amazingly, he became one of the world longest serving priests, passing from the world’s stage at the age of 101.5 years! By God’s permission this tireless Christian witness lived up to his name, Foy which in old French means faith.

This humble and simple priest was also a canon lawyer and a theologian. His perspicacity enabled him to be one of the greatest pro-life warriors Canada has ever known. He was well aware of how silly errors in doctrine, proposed by dishonest, glory-seeking and rogue theologians, could cause serious division and hurt the Church he so loved.

Monsignor’s sharp intellect and balanced approach, as well as his loyalty to the teaching authority of the Church, enabled him to quickly find false teachings.

Like a Jeremiah or an Athanasius, he bravely and persistently exposed the doctrinal errors despite, at times, near overwhelming opposition. However, his deep devotion to Our Lady sweetened his disposition toward his fellow men. The rosary was one of his greatest weapons.

I will simply conclude by saying, if I were asked to give a fitting tribute to this good and humble priest, I would say that Monsignor Vincent Foy should be seriously considered by the Church as a candidate for sainthood. Behold the man who stood with Christ on the world’s stage. Let his legacy never be forgotten.

To Monsignor Foy we pray. Remember us in your prayer, dear friend. Till we meet again. Adieu!

Deacon Daniel Dauvin, ofs

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Tribute to Msgr. Foy from the BC Catholic – Archdiocese of Vancouver

Here is the complete text of the article:

TORONTO (CCN) — One of the oldest and longest serving priests in Canada, Msgr. Vincent Foy, died March 13 in his 78th year of priesthood at the age of 101.

A priest for the Archdiocese of Toronto, Msgr. Foy was proud of his longevity, his loyalty, and his defence of Catholic teaching, writing last December about being “perched on the precipice of eternity” as he recounted his long career.

Msgr. Foy is the longest ordained and the oldest diocesan priest in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto and the longest ordained English-speaking diocesan priest in the history of the Church in Canada. He learned of only one other French-speaking diocesan priest in Canadian history who had served longer: Father Roger Duval of Quebec City, who served 78.5 years. In his worldwide research, he found only four priests –  two of them still alive – who had spent more than 78 years in diocesan priestly ministry.

Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins said Msgr. Foy “inspired us by his fidelity and personal witness, serving the Lord and all those he encountered most generously.”

Cardinal Collins said, “As a prayerful shepherd, champion of life-issues, and witness of loving service to others, may his legacy live on for years to come.”

Msgr. Foy served as a Eucharistic minister at two papal funerals, those of Pope Paul VI in 1978 and Pope John Paul I later that same year. He also served at the first Mass of Pope John Paul II.

Msgr. Foy was ordained by Cardinal James McGuigan June 3, 1939 fulfilling a promise he had made as a seven-year-old boy. With his mother close to death in 1922, young Foy promised God that if she survived he would do all he could to become a priest. She lived.

Doing all he could became Msgr. Foy’s lifelong touchstone.

After graduating from St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto in 1939, he was sent to study canon law at Laval University in Quebec. Armed with a doctorate in canon law, he was immediately useful to the archdiocese as vice chancellor and secretary to the Toronto Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal. When the tribunal became the Toronto Regional Marriage Tribunal he became defender of the bond and judge.

In 1957, at the age of 42, Pope Pius XII named Msgr. Foy a Prelate of Honour, earning him the title of Monsignor.

When Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger convoked the first meeting of the Canadian Canon Law Society in 1965, Msgr. Foy was among the founders.

But Msgr. Foy’s long priestly career was not confined to canon law. For years he was part-time director of catechetics for the archdiocese. In 1966 he became pastor of the parish he was born in, St. John’s in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood. In the 1970s he was pastor first of Holy Martyrs of Japan in Bradford and then of St. Patrick’s in Phelpston.

He retired in 1979, but in 38 years of retirement Msgr. Foy was never idle. His dedication to the pro-life movement was constant and he campaigned furiously against the 1968 Winnipeg Statement, in which the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had urged Catholics to read Humanae Vitae carefully and make their decisions about contraception according to their conscience.

His insistent and unrelenting pro-life preaching and writing saw Msgr. Foy named EWTN’s Pro-Life Man of the Year, inspiring a 30-minute network documentary on his life.

After celebrating the 75th anniversary of his ordination in 2014, Msgr. Foy recalled the significance of his rosary in his life.

“I had my rosary blessed by Pope Paul VI and served as Eucharistic minister at his funeral,” he wrote. “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 … something tells me I should pack my bags.”

This article was updated Sept. 5, 2018.

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Celebrate Humanae vitae!

To promote love and life and family, parishes are welcome and permitted to print and provide a copy of the attached theologically sound pamphlet for each of their parishioners. Promoting the Church’s unchangeable teaching in Humanae vitae in parishes and informing of the harmful spiritual and medical effects of contraception is a vital and effective way to celebrate and educate the faithful.  The pdf version is here for anyone to download and it can be posted on websites:
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