Friday 30 May 2014

Monsignor Vincent Foy - 75 years a priest

It was June 3, 1939 and three months before Adolf Hitler invaded Poland setting off the death of millions in Europe. That war would change the plans of the Archbishop of Toronto for his new priest -- instead of studying Canon Law in Rome, Catholic University in Washington would have to suffice.

So began the priestly life of Vincent Foy. Born in Toronto in 1915, he was the second of a family of eight children. He knew at the age of ten that he would be a priest; his mother was dying and he prayed to God to save her and in exchange he would offer his life as a priest. As evidenced by his soon to be 99 years and his 75 years as a priest, God answered his prayer and Vincent kept his promise. When this writer was only a year-old, Father Foy was named a Domestic Prelate by Venerable Pius XII.

Monsignor Foy served many parishes in the Archdiocese of  Toronto and on did much of his work on the Marriage Tribunal. Monsignor Foy was an ardent opponent of the infamous Winnipeg Statement and made no apologies for it. He was the pro-life hero in Canada, inspiring countless numbers to this day. He took on the powers that would undermine the faith be they bishops or Council "periti." He has served Christ, His Church and all of us. He even has a web page!

Next Saturday, June 7, 2014, is the Vigil of Pentecost. On that day, a Solemn Mass will be held in Toronto at St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church to adore God and to thank Our Lord Jesus Christ for the gift of this priest as we acknowledge and celebrate the 75 years of priesthood of Monsignor Vincent Foy. He is the oldest living priest in the Archdiocese of Toronto and the only one who has reached this milestone. Monsignor's trusted and loyal secretary has done a search with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and they can find no record of a priest in Canada serving that long; certainly priests over 100 but not serving that long. Then Archbishop McGuigan tried to ordain him at the age of 23 but could not gain permission and he needed to wait one more year -- and even 24 was unheard of.

The Mass will be according to the Roman Missal of 1962 and is known as the Mass in the Presence of a Greater Prelate. For those interested in such matters liturgical, this is one small step removed from a Pontifical Mass in the traditional rite of the western Church. Thomas Cardinal Collins will Preside and deliver the Homily. This is the first time that the Ordinary in Toronto has participated in a liturgy according to the 1962 Roman Missal since 1965 and the first time for a Cardinal in Canada since that year.

What an incredible opportunity also for the whole liturgical movement of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The question arose immediately; "How do we present this liturgy, --as a fly in amber or in the light of what we have known had gone wrong with the traditional liturgy for most of the first half of the last century and what we have learnt had gone wrong for the last fifty years with the reform?"

"How can we respect the liturgical purity necessary whilst accomplishing the 'actuoso participatio' long desired by St. Pius X, Pope as articulated in Tra le sollecitudini and recognising the liturgical praxis today and the pedagogical state of liturgical formation."

In the liturgy properly understood, everyone has a role in actual participation. This means we understand what is being done, we watch, we sing, we pray, we listen; we stand, we sit, we kneel. We absorb the liturgy and we express ourselves inwardly and outwardly. It is important to understand that the people have become now the liturgical choir. They must take their role and not be excluded from this actuoso participation; this is the essence that St. Pius X and Dom Gueranger and the liturgical movement were trying to elevate us to; not the "active motion" that has come to be the dominant characteristic of our liturgical worship but the full, conscious, actual and complete participation with everyone undertaking that which is properly theirs.

First, a complete missalette is necessary to aid the faithful in a comprehensive understanding of the Mass side-by-side Latin and English. We no longer carry one to Mass as our parents and grandparents did.

Secondly, the Schola has its role in all the Propers, the full Choir its role in the glorious musical offerings and again, the People take their proper role in fully sung responses and the Mass Ordinary and verbal petitions at the appropriate place.

Let us fill this Church to honour God and thank Our Lord for Monsignor Foy's 99 years on this earth and 75 as a priest in the same liturgy in which he was ordained with even a choral acknowledgement to the choir director of that special day in 1939, Monsignor John Edward Ronan.

~ Music Notes ~

Organ preludes
Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring—Johann Sebastian Bach
Prelude and Fugue in C major—Johann Sebastian Bach 
Prelude and Fugue in F major—-Johann Sebastian Bach
Variations on Veni Creator—Maurice Duruflé
Processional Hymn: Come Down, O Love Divine—Down Ampney
Introitus: Cum sanctificatus—schola
Kyrie: Missa de Angelis—organ, all
Gloria: Missa de Angelis—organ, all
Alleluia: Alleluia, Confitemini Domino—Schola
Tractus: Laudate Dominium—Schola
Offertorium: Emmitte—Schola
Motet: Sacerdotes Domini—William Byrd
Sanctus: Missa de Angelis—organ, all
Agnus Dei: Missa de Angelis—organ, all
Communio: Ultimo—Schola
Motet: Ave Verum Corpus—Wm. Byrd
Chant: Veni Creator Spiritus— Rabanus Marus
Reprise of Variations on Veni Creator by Durufle
Ablutions: Ubi Caritas—children Chant
Ubi Caritas—M. Duruflé
Marian Antiphon: Regina Caeli—Msgr. J.E. Ronan
Recessional Hymn: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name—Grosser Gott
Organ Postlude: Toccata— Charles Widor

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