In June 2009, as the Catholic church began its celebration of the “Year of the Priest,” Monsignor Vincent Foy celebrated a truly remarkable milestone: his 70th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. We offer our sincere congratulations and express our profound gratitude to him on this happy occasion, for no priest has worked as hard, as long or as well to defend the culture of life in Canada from the rampant intellectual errors of the 20th century.

For 25 years, until 1966, Foy defended marriage as the head of the matrimonial tribunal for the Archdiocese of Toronto. After this assignment, Foy expected to live the quiet life of a parish priest. However, during the upheavals and confusions of the late 1960s and 1970s, Foy became the apostle of Humane Vitae, the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, which reiterated the constant teaching of the church about the intrinsic evil of abortion and contraception. By his stalwart defence of this document, Foy laid the foundation for the continued resistance of the Catholic church in Canada to the culture of death. During a time of great turmoil, Foy held the line and worked tirelessly to preserve the intellectual core of the pro-life movement against the easy compromises of those troubled decades, most especially regarding contraception.

At the Mass celebrating his anniversary, Foy observed that for all priests, there is “the chalice of joy and consolation,” representing the many joys of a priest’s sacerdotal service. But, in addition, “there is the chalice of suffering. Every priest must spend his hour in the Garden of Gethsemane and join Simon of Cyrene in helping Christ carry the cross to Calvary.” However, in such times of sorrow and distress, Catholics find joy in serving their priests, who have served them so well and for so long; watching with them in their dark hours and helping them bear the burden of their heavy crosses.

“What a great and noble and difficult work it is, trying to restore in Canada the culture of life.” Indeed it is. And it has been our privilege and honour to labour alongside Msgr. Vincent Foy in this righteous struggle and we hope to do so for many years to come.

Ad multos annos!