Father Canice (Donald) Connors, OFM Conv., died on March 17. He was of rector of Franciscan Church of the Assumption in Syracuse from July 2005 to December 2007.

Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home in Hamburg, N.Y., gave the following information:

Father Connors was born in Hazelton, Pa., on Dec. 3, 1934. He was the son of the late James and Elizabeth (née Roarty) Connors. In addition to his Franciscan family he leaves his brother James and James’ wife, Christine Connors, of Fayetteville, N.Y.; a sister, Dolores Cea; sister-in-law Mary Ann Anderson; and 10 nephews and nieces, as well as several great-nephews and great-nieces. He was predeceased by his brother Robert Connors.

Father Connors entered the Franciscan Friars Conventual Novitiate in Middleburg, N.Y., on Aug. 15, 1954. He professed his temporary vows on Aug. 16, 1955, and his solemn vows on Sept. 27, 1958. Father Connors was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1961.

After his ordination, Father Connors attended The Catholic University of America and received a master’s degree in philosophy in 1962. He attended the University of Ottawa from 1962 to 1963, receiving a master’s degree in psychology. He served as teacher and headmaster at Canevin High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., from 1964 to 1975. During that time, from 1969 to 1971, he also studied at the University of Pittsburgh and he was awarded a Ph.D. in psychology in 1971.

A man of dauntless energy, Father Connors served in the chancery of the Archdiocese of Baltimore from 1975 to 1979. Because of his skills in psychology, Father Connors was asked to be the director of Southdown Institute in Holland Landing, Ontario, Canada, where he served from 1979 to 1986. After serving a year (1986-1987) as rector of St. Anthony-on-Hudson, in Rensselaer, N.Y., Father Connors was asked to be the pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he served from 1987 to 1992.

Again using his skills in psychology, Father Connors served as the director of St. Luke’s Institute in Silver Spring, Md., from 1992 to 1997, when he was elected as Minister Provincial of the Immaculate Conception Province. This was ministry that he offered until 2005.

Father Connors was a well-respected guest speaker in both the U.S. and Canada. He received the Annual Touchstone Award in 1997, which is the President’s Award of the National Federation of Priests Council, given to one whose service in the Gospel of Jesus Christ exemplifies the goals and purposes of the NFPC. Father Connors was the vice president and president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 to 2004.

For health reasons, Father Connors resigned from his position as rector of Franciscan Church of the Assumption. He was then assigned to St. Bonaventure Friary, Toronto, Canada.        

Despite his illness, he became the effective leader of “Tea and Theology” discussion groups in Toronto. As his health declined, Father Connors was transferred in 2015 to Mercy Nursing Facility at Our Lady Victory, Lackawanna, N.Y. For most of his time there, he was still able to minster the sacraments to his fellow residents.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on March 22 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in  Hamburg, N.Y., with interment in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Buffalo.

A Memorial Mass will take place at 11 a.m. April 30 at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville, N.Y.

Memorial donations may be made to the Franciscan Education Burse, 12300 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, Md. 21042, or to Francis House, 108 Michaels Ave., Syracuse, N.Y. 13208.

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