Cox, Rev Francis
REV. FRANCIS COX
December 9, 2014
Date of Birth: 17 September 1925
- Place of Birth in Ireland: Tarmonbarry
- County: Roscommon
- Date of Ordination: 4 June 1950
- Education: St Patrick Seminary in Carlow
- Place of Ordination: St Patrick Seminary in Carlow
- Ordained by: Bishop Thomas Keogh of Kildare
- Assistant – St John Parish, El Dorado, 10/28/1950 to 1/26/1951
- Assistant – St Patrick Parish, Chanute, 1/27/1951 to 2/14/1956
- Pastor – Our Lady of Guadalupe, Newton, 2/15/1956 to 5/30/1963
- Pastor – Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hutchinson, 5/31/1963 to 3/6/1968
- Chancery – Member of Parish Priests’ Retirement & Relief Board, 12/1/1966
- Pastor – St Agnes, Castleton, 3/7/1968 to 6/27/1973
- Chancery – Hutchinson Deanery, Vicar Forane, Hutchinson, 6/1/1970 – 11/1/1971
Hutchinson Deanery was discontinued
- Pastor – St Mary Parish, Parsons, 6/28/1973 to 3/30/1983
- Pastor – Holy Name, Winfield and St Mary, Oxford, 8/31/1983 to 6/15/1987
- Pastor – Sacred Heart, Arkansas City, 6/16/1987 to 8/2/1998
- Chancery – Wellington Deanery, Dean, 6/10/1997
Father Cox was a builder extraordinaire. Some of his projects included Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in South Hutchinson in 1963, where Father took the leadership role in establishing a new parish site, building the church, hall and rectory. As assistant pastor at St Patrick’s Parish in Chanute, he blessed the area when ground-breaking ceremonies took place for a new school and gymnasium. He was also instrumental in the building of Trinity High School in Hutchinson.
In 1965, Father Cox was invited to speak at the evening worship service at the South Hutchinson Methodist Church, which was a first according to Rev. Paul Mugler who had invited him. Father Cox stated “Your invitation to me and the people of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish shines as a proof of the bond of Christian brotherhood drawing us together. Unless we Catholics are renewed from within,” he continued, “we shall never be able to carry the Gospel of Light which Methodists, Catholics and all Christians treasure so highly.”
At his retirement gathering, Bishop Eugene J. Gerber said “Fr. Cox, a native of Ireland, came a long distance to minister in Kansas and while here has gone a long distance in serving the Church of this Diocese. From one parish to another, he served parishes of all cultural backgrounds, appealed to people of other faith traditions, and took a special interest in the political world. Fr. Cox’s personality, his smile, his thinking will always make him a distinctive sort of man etched in our memories and branded on our hearts,” the Bishop added.
During his interview, Fr Cox said his life has been interesting. He reminisced about his service to primarily Hispanic parishes in the diocese, especially Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes in Newton and Hutchinson. He spoke Spanish fluently which endeared him to these two parishes. He was also involved in the civil rights movement, the Job Corps and other human rights causes. He fondly remembers having coffee with John F. Kennedy.
In a follow-up article upon Fr Cox’s death, Monsignor Robert Hemberger said how he admired the Irish priest’s concern for the poor and how he considered them not as poor people but good people. “Not only do you know them but you take the time and trouble to know their stories. You know their history, their relatives, and their aspirations. I always got the feeling that you dipped regularly into your billfold to help them when things got tight for them. And again, you can do it in a way that respects them. Your gifts with people, especially the little people of the world, have been an inspiration to me as a priest.”
- Date of Death: 9 December 2014
- Place of Death: Wichita, Kansas
- Age of Death: 89
- Funeral: Catholic Care Center’s St Elizabeth Chapel
- Burial: Ascension Cemetery in Wichita
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