BAYONNE, NJ - Despite the heroic efforts of first responders in the moments after he suffered a heart attack while driving on December 22, Reverend Monsignor Francis R. Seymour succumbed to his injuries on Thursday.

Seymour, 81, was born in Bayonne where he attended St. Mary, Star of the Sea Grammar School, Bayonne before continuing his education at St. Peter’s High School, Staten Island, NY; Seton Hall University, South Orange, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, then located at Mahwah.

The long-time and well-respected religious leader was ordained as a Catholic priest on May 25, 1963, and, with more than 55 years in service to the church, would hold numerous positions including as Archdiocesan Archivist; Archdiocesan Director of Catholic Relief Services, responsible for directing and coordinating all local efforts to assist the national agency in responding to both national and international calamities; Editor of the annual Directory and Almanac of the Archdiocese of Newark; and served as Pastor or Administrator of close to 40 parishes, the only priest of the Archdiocese to hold that distinction.

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“Today this local Church of Newark mourns a remarkable, respected and much-loved priest whose devotion to the people of God and to his brother priests was always strong and ever-growing,” Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, said upon Seymour’s passing. “Throughout his entire priestly ministry – spanning six decades – every county within the Archdiocese, and indeed, hundreds of thousands of people in close to 40 parishes, experienced that love and caring, often at times of significant change or challenge.”

According to a statement, Seymour’s “devotion to the Church and to the priesthood was a hallmark of his life,” and in 2013, on the occasion of his 50-year anniversary in the priesthood he said, paraphrasing a quote by General Douglas MacArthur, “When I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the priesthood, and the priesthood, and the priesthood.”

Funeral arrangements are as follows:

Reception of the Body at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, 89 Ridge Street, Newark, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 30. Viewing will take place between 3 and 7 p.m. Vigil service will then take place starting at 7:30 p.m. Reverend Marco F. Schad will deliver the Homily. Viewing will resume on Monday, Dec. 31, from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Francis R. Seymour is scheduled for Monday, December 31 at 10:30 a.m. in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, Regional Bishop of Newark, will preside, and Reverend Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale will be the Homilist.   

Following the funeral, Monsignor Seymour will be laid to rest in the Priests’ Circle of Holy Name Cemetery, Jersey City.


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