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.


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:

Attestation to the holiness of Msgr. Foy – “He consistently practised heroic sanctity and all of the virtues.”

Msgr. Foy 2014

Photo of Msgr. Foy at one of his 77 Ordination Anniversaries

There are so many wonderful things to say about Msgr. Vincent Foy our “Champion for Life” who brought so much happiness and the light of Christ to others.

Many years ago, knowing he was a very faithful priest, I located and called Msgr. Foy with some complicated questions related to Canon Law.  A great and holy friendship with this saintly and brilliant priest of God began.  He helped me and others to find the correct answers to questions about all aspects of our Catholic Faith and other subjects.

Msgr. Foy did  things exceptionally well and in an honest, humble way, with great Love. His life and priesthood were so well-ordered and interesting.  Through Msgr. Foy and his example, many of us were able to get to know better what God is really like.

Many of us laughed, cried, defended the Faith and went through many joys and sorrows together with Msgr. Foy. He had a great sense of humour.  His warm friendly presence filled a room with the sunshine of God’s love and goodness.

It has been the greatest honour, privilege and pleasure to know Msgr. Foy.  I thank God for my closest priest friend over the years who has been such a tremendous blessing. I am eternally grateful to God and to Msgr. for his untiring and heroic response to God’s call and Will and for his true priesthood. What a faithful friend, spiritual giant, and orthodox Catholic scholar!

In conclusion, as I did when he was on earth, I continue to attest to the holiness of Msgr. Foy.  Here’s a Scripture that describes Msgr. Foy:

“Msgr. Foy is patient, is kind: envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; [5] Is not ambitious, seeketh not his own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; [6] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; [7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. [8] Charity never fails.”

Msgr. Foy, our Champion for the Church has shown us that a true priest is like the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and devoted to Our Blessed Mother Mary.

He consistently practised heroic sanctity and all of the virtues, especially charity.

Before and since his passing, God has granted me many graces through his intercession.

I and others believe Msgr. Vincent Foy is a saint.