New York – The Mass of Christian Burial for Thomas Fox, who spent more than 50 years as a missionary in Brazil, was held June 6 at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Jerome Massimino, pastor of the church on West 31st Street, celebrated the Mass and Gerald Mudd preached the homily.
Thomas, 90, a professed Franciscan friar for 65 years and a priest for almost 61 years, died on June 4 at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. The Wake was held June 4 at the Cortona Chapel of Holy Name Friary in Ringwood. At his request, Thomas was buried in Anapolis, Brazil.
Thomas was born on May 4, 1917, in New York, N.Y., to Thomas and Hannah (nee Sullivan). He was baptized on May 20, 1917 at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in New York City. He attended Our Lady of Good Counsel Parochial School in N.Y.C., and Our Lady of Sorrows Parochial School (1924 to1932) in Corona, N.Y., and in 1936 graduated from St. Agnes High School, College Point, N.Y. From 1936 to 1940, he attended St. Joseph Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. In 1943, he received a bachelor’s degree and in 1946 a master’s degree (missiology) from St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y.
On Aug. 12, 1940, he was received into the Franciscan Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed first vows there on Aug. 13, 1941, both before Jerome Dawson. He professed solemn vows on Sept. 17, 1944, at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C., before Bertrand Campbell. He completed his philosophical studies at St. Stephen Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and theology at Holy Name College. On June 9, 1946, he was ordained a priest in Mount St. Sepulchre Friary Church in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Amleto G. Cicognani, the Apostolic Delegate.
Thomas’s first assignment, from 1947 to 1950, was parochial vicar at St. Joseph’s Parish in Winsted, Conn. From 1950 until 2002, he was a missionary in Brazil, serving over the years as assistant, pastor, and superior, in various parishes in Anapolis, Ceres, Porangatu, Jatai, and Quirinopolis. He returned to the United States briefly in June 2002 and resided at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., returning to Anapolis that September only to return nine months later to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, due to failing health.
Thomas is survived by his two sisters, Mrs. Ellen Johnson and Mrs. Marie McLaughlin both of Williston Park, N.Y., and his brother, John, of Hamden, Conn. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to Ellen Johnson, 44 Cornell Street, Williston Park, NY 11596-1808.