April 1, 2005

Msgr. Francis R. Tuohy served as
vicar general and chancellor

By Mary Ann Wyand

Msgr. Francis R. Tuohy, a retired priest and former vicar general and chancellor of the archdiocese, died at about 8:30 p.m. on Holy Thursday, March 24, in the health care center at Marquette Manor in Indianapolis of complications from liver cancer. He was 69.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein was the principal celebrant for the Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. on March 31 at Christ the King Church in Indianapolis.

Burial followed in the Priests’ Circle at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery in Indian­apolis.

Father William F. Stumpf, vicar of the archdiocesan Vicariate of Clergy and Parish Life Coordinators: Formation and Personnel, was the homilist.

“He was an extraordinary man,” Father Stumpf said of Msgr. Tuohy in an interview on March 28. “He served the Church in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis extremely well in a lot of ways, not only in his leadership in administration, but also as a parish priest. He was a priest’s priest, a great man.”

Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel, vicar general, praised Msgr. Tuohy’s years of distinguished administrative and pastoral service to the archdiocesan Church during a retirement party held on July 7, 2004, at Christ the King Parish.

“Many of us know him as someone who has been, for a number of years and continues to be, a remarkable leader … an archdiocesan leader,” Msgr. Schaedel said. “Frank, you have served us well as chancellor, as vicar general, as a confidant, as a friend and, most of all, I think, as a mentor and a model for so many of us priests in the archdiocese.”

Francis Richard Tuohy was born on Aug. 15, 1935, in Indianapolis. His parents, Joseph K. and Anna Helen (McNelis) Tuohy, were members of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) Parish in Indianapolis, where he received the sacraments of baptism and confirmation.

After graduating from Little Flower School, he studied for the priesthood at Saint Meinrad Seminary and was ordained by Archbishop Paul C. Schulte on May 7, 1961, at the Archabbey Church there.

Father Tuohy celebrated his first Mass on May 14, 1961, at St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) Church.

Following his ordination, he continued his studies at the Theological Union of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1961 and earned a canon law degree there on June 6, 1965.

While studying at Catholic University, Father Tuohy participated in the funeral Mass of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963. He is pictured in a photograph taken during the president’s funeral that was included in a videotaped program celebrating his 40th anniversary of ordination held in 2001 at Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis.

During 43 years of priestly service to God and the Church in central and southern Indiana, Msgr. Tuohy served at several Indianapolis-area parishes while providing many years of administrative work for the archdiocesan chancery and Metropolitan Tribunal.

Msgr. Tuohy served Archbishop George J. Biskup as both chancellor and vicar general. He was appointed interim administrator by the archdiocesan Board of Consultors after Archbishop Biskup’s death on Oct. 17, 1979, and served in that capacity until Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara was installed on Jan. 10, 1980.

His first assignment was as associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood and as a notary and assistant to the Archdiocesan Curia in 1961.

After completing canon law studies, he was named assistant pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis and vice chancellor of the archdiocese on June 1, 1965. The following year, on May 16, 1966, he was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese.

On July 7, 1969, he was first named to the Board of Consultors.

While continuing as chancellor of the archdiocese, he was named pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Fortville on July 14, 1971.

From 1972-76, 1979-84 and 1989-99, Father Tuohy was reappointed to the Board of Consultors. Also in 1973, he was appointed to the archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission for a three-year term.

Beginning on July 9, 1974, while continuing as chancellor, he resided at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Indianapolis.

He was appointed vicar general of the archdiocese on Sept. 29, 1975.

On March 26, 1979, Father Tuohy was elected archdiocesan administrator by the Board of Consultors and also assumed the office of econome as the financial administrator during the months of transition after Archbishop Biskup’s death.

He was named a prelate of honor by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1979.

On Jan. 9, 1980, Msgr. Tuohy was reappointed vicar general and chancellor.

He accepted additional responsibilities as pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis on July 8, 1981.

On May 14, 1984, he was appointed a judge for the archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal for a five-year term.

On July 10, 1985, Msgr. Tuohy was named pastor of St. Luke Parish in Indianapolis, while retaining his assignment as vicar general until July 1, 1988.

He was appointed to the Council of Priests on Jan. 1, 1989, and served on the council until Dec. 31, 1990, and again from 1996-97 and 2002-04.

On Aug. 8, 1994, Msgr. Tuohy was elevated to the rank of protonotary apostolic, the highest honor bestowed on a monsignor, by Pope John Paul.

He was named pastor of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis on Feb. 15, 1995, and reappointed to a second and final six-year term there on Feb. 22, 2001, while continuing as an archdiocesan judge for the Metropolitan Tribunal until 2004.

On July 7, 2004, Msgr. Tuohy was granted permission to retire as he continued his struggle with cancer.

In a letter to Christ the King parishioners dated May 5, 2004, Msgr. Tuohy wrote, “After much deliberation, consultation and prayerful consideration, I have made the decision that the time has come for me to resign from the pastorate of Christ the King Parish and to take retirement. … My health has not been good for several months now. … My energy level is very low.”

Msgr. Tuohy also noted that, “Upon the retirement of Msgr. Kenny Sweeney in February 1995, the opening at Christ the King [Parish] afforded me a lovely assignment and a chance to remain geographically close to many of my relatives after being at St. Luke for 10 years.

“It has been a ‘great and grand run’ at Christ the King,” he wrote, “and I have enjoyed every bit of it. … You parishioners have been welcoming, supportive, responsive, constructive and cooperative. You even sometimes told me what you really thought! That makes a pastor’s job easy and enjoyable, and I thank you. After 43 years, I do look forward to retirement.”

A new gymnasium and multipurpose center built adjacent to the school during Msgr. Tuohy’s pastorate was later named in his honor.

After retiring, Msgr. Tuohy resided at the St. Luke Parish rectory until he moved to Marquette Manor for hospice care in recent months.

He is survived by a sister, Bernadette Cunningham; two brothers, J. Joseph Tuohy and James L. Tuohy; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. †

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