RINGWOOD, N.J. – Funeral services were held at Holy Name Friary last week for Campion Lally, OFM, who died there Nov. 11. Campion, 81, a professed Franciscan friar for 59 years and a priest for 54 years, was a dedicated missionary in Japan for nearly 50 years.
Campion was born Jan. 27, 1926, in South Orange, N.J. He was the firstborn son of James and Irene Lally. On Feb. 21, 1926, he was baptized Thomas Francis at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange. After graduating from Columbia High School there, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and served for two years at various locations in the States. He then attended St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., from 1945 to 1947.
He was received into the Franciscan Order on Aug. 12, 1947, at St. Bonaventure Church, Paterson, N.J., where he professed first vows on May 13, 1948, before Bertrand Campbell, OFM. After studying philosophy at St. Stephen Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., he studied theology at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. There, he professed his final vows as a Franciscan on Sept. 17, 1952, before Celsus Wheeler, OFM. On June 12, 1953, he was ordained to the priesthood at the Franciscan Monastery Church, Mount Saint Sepulchre, Washington, D.C., by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Amleto G. Cicognani.
Campion’s first assignment, after completion of his studies, was to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, for the summer of 1954. He then served as assistant at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Mass., for one year. In 1955, he volunteered for Holy Name Province’s Mission in Japan. He studied at the language school in Toyko and then became assistant pastor of the parish of Kiryu, Gumma Prefecture.
In 1961, he returned to the U.S. to obtain a licentiate in moral theology from The Catholic University of America. In 1963, he returned to Japan to teach moral theology at St. Anthony Seminary, Tokyo, while taking courses at Sophia University. He also assisted at the churches in Fujioka and Omana. From 1970 to 1988, he served at the Franciscan Chapel Center in Tokyo, serving at different times as vicar and superior. From 1988 until July 2005, he was an assistant in Kiryu and professor of moral theology at St. Anthony Seminary. In Sept. 2005, due to a diabetic condition, he returned to the U.S. and was assigned to St. Anthony’s Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. In February 2006, he moved to Holy Name Community nursing home in Ringwood.
Campion’s Wake Service and Mass of Christian Burial were celebrated at the Cortona Chapel of Holy Name Friary on Nov. 13 and 14 respectively. Vicar Provincial Dominic Monti, OFM, presided at the Mass and William DeBiase, OFM, gave the homily. Following cremation, Campion’s remains will be buried in Japan.
Campion is survived by his sister, Irene Koch, and brothers, William and Michael. Condolences may be sent to Ms. Koch, 29129 Johnston Road, Dade City FL 33523.
Editor’s note: Information about Campion’s involvement with creation of the Marvel Comics Francis Brother of the Universe will appear in a future issue of this newsletter.