Father Francis W. Collins, MM
Born: January 9, 1920
Ordained: June 11, 1949
Died: August 23, 2000
Father Francis Collins died on August 23, 2000 at St. Teresa’s Residence. He was 80 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 51 years.
Francis William Collins was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on January 9, 1920, son of John and Catherine Reardon Collins. He had nine brothers and sisters. His early schooling took place in Blessed Sacrament Parochial School, Holyoke, and Northeast Catholic High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He entered Maryknoll in September 1940 at Maryknoll Junior College (Venard), Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, and was ordained at Maryknoll Seminary, New York on June 11, 1949.
Father Collins’™ first assignment was to the Development Department where he served in Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas, before his overseas assignment in May 1951 to Maryknoll’s mission in Mexico. After language studies, Father Collins began his work in the Yucatan, first in the parish of Peto and later he transferred to the very difficult work in the Carrillo Puerto, serving the Mayan Indians in isolated villages of the Yucatan peninsula. He was most diligent and generous, and lived up to every challenge of the work. Father Collins was appointed Alternate Consultor for the Mexico Region in 1961, then served as Regional Superior of the Region from January 1966 to January 1972.
After finishing his term as Regional Superior, Father Collins began work in the city parish of San Jeronimo in Mexico City, serving there for ten years and then returned to the Yucatan area where he did parish work in the town of Dzidzantun for the next 15 years. His final assignment was in the Merida Parish of San Sebastian. Father Collins was assigned to the Special Society Unit on March 1, 1995 and continued to serve the mission in Yucatan until he took up residence at St. Teresa’s in May 2000.
Throughout his long missionary life, Father Collins was a faithful, hardworking, unassuming man. He was elected Superior by his peers at a difficult time in the Church. The Superior General in thanking him for his services as Regional Superior said: “you have shouldered a difficult burden, and have shouldered it well. I want to thank you personally for your assistance, cooperation, openness and frankness.”
Wake services were held on Friday, August 25, 2000 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Teresa’s Residence and 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel where Father Charles Murray officiated and Brother Donald Miriani read the biography. Mass of Christian burial was concelebrated at Queen of Apostles Chapel on Saturday, August 26, 2000 at 11:00 a.m. Father Martin Keegan was principal celebrant and Father George Ratermann was homilist. Burial followed at the Maryknoll Cemetery with Father Raymond Finch conducting the graveside service.