Father Francis P. Milroy, MM
Born: October 13, 1916
Ordained: June 10, 1945
Died: September 4, 1980
Father Francis P. Milroy died at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Arequipa, Peru, on September 4, 1980.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on October 13, 1916, Frank was one of three sons and a daughter born to William D. Milroy and Yvonne L. Morin. His initial contact with Maryknoll was through a Maryknoll seminarian in his parish who proved to be an inspiration for Frank. Later on, during his studies at Manhattan College, he was involved in a mission club where the idea of joining Maryknoll became more firm. His final contact with Maryknoll before entering was with Father James Keller.
In speaking of his love for his family and for his new family of Maryknoll, Frank wrote: “I have no fear to mention the pain in the leave-taking of those loved ones at home. It is here that the Maryknoller’s love for his Mother Mary and the heaven-sent family spirit of our beloved society means so much. Since true charity is the distinguishing mark of the missioner, it is not strange that love in him forms strongest bonds. It is the love of Christ which leads him to forsake all things to bring others to that love which gave itself completely for us.”
Frank entered Maryknoll in September, 1938, having completed two years of studies in electrical engineering at Manhattan College. Upon entering, Frank expressed his vocation by saying: “I feel called to the priesthood and I long to be a missioner even if to bring just one soul to heaven.”
Upon ordination on June 10, 1945 Frank was assigned to complete his studies in electrical engineering at Manhattan College. In 1946 he was assigned to the Venard where he began his long career of dedicated service in formation. He served as Science and Mathematics teacher and, more profoundly, as spiritual director and counsellor. In 1947 he took the position of Director of the Brothers at Lakewood. “I have always considered the education and formation of our candidates a most important work and have been glad to be associated with it and especially with the students and Maryknollers working together to that end.”
In April, 1951, at the age of 35, Frank was assigned to Peru where he labored for six years before returning to formation and education work at the Venard, Chesterfield and Glen Ellyn. In March of 1971 he was assigned once more to Peru where he was pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Arequipa until his death. On his multiple assignments his superior wrote: “You have always responded to the Society’s call to fill a need, and you have done so joyfully, zealously, and without complaint.”
Parker was extremely well educated, through not only Maryknoll and Manhattan College, but also through a Master’s Degree in Science at Fordham University and studies at the University of Scranton, Catholic University of America, and Hofstra University. He never considered either his personal talent or training to be of any worth other than in total giving to others. He wrote: “I hope I can give back to Maryknoll part of what Maryknoll has given me. It would be impossible to repay the debt in full.”
One note that rings through all of Frank’s career, whether in formation or overseas, is that of the gentleman: “He tries to keep others happy” – “He is always buoyant, kind and outgoing” – “He is always refreshing and uplifting” – “He is a constant good influence on others” – “A man of prayer, liked by everyone, generous to a fault” – “He is one of the most amiable men in the Region, a ‘people’ person, who centers his apostolate on team work” – “He always prefers to do something for someone else rather than for himself.”
The funeral service and burial took place in Arequipa, Peru, at the recently acquired Maryknoll plot there. At Maryknoll the Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated on September 8, the Feast of Mary’s Birth, at noon. Principal Celebrant was Father Patrick Donovan, Homilist Father Robert Kearns, and Biography by Father Joseph Farrell – all three of whom served as close friends and fellow missioners with Frank in Peru.