Rev. Vincent Ambrose Heffernan, SFM

1940 – 2021

Fr. Vince Heffernan of Scarborough, Ontario and died of heart failure on the morning of Friday, August 13, 2021, at Scarborough General Hospital.  He was 81.

Born on March 27, 1940, Fr. Vince was one of ten children born to the late Ambrose and Agnes Heffernan. Brother of the late Mike Heffernan and his wife Josephine of Oakville, Edward Heffernan and his wife Margaret of Loretto, Kenneth Heffernan and his wife Linda of Cambridge, Frances Gresson of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US, Philip Heffernan and his wife Marie of Alliston, Clifford Heffernan of Arthur, Catherine Heffernan of Arthur,  Dan Heffernan and his wife Rita of Iron Bridge and Joseph Heffernan and his wife Bev of Kitchener.

Fr. Vince’s home parish was St. John the Evangelist in Arthur, Ontario.  He received his elementary education in nearby West Luther Township, attended Arthur District High School, and then went to Stratford Teachers College. In 1964, he entered the St. Francis Xavier Seminary (later known as the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society) after spending a year in the Society’s novitiate, Nazareth House, in St. Mary’s, Ontario.

After completing his preparation for the priesthood, Fr. Vince was ordained for Scarboro Missions by Bishop Kenneth Turner, SFM, in St. John’s Church, Arthur, Ontario, on May 2, 1970.

He was appointed that year to the Guyana mission, first auditing a course in history and culture at the University of Guyana and then assisting Scarboro missioners in Georgetown, the capital. He returned to Canada on furlough in 1973 and studied at the Maryknoll Mission Institute in Maryknoll, NY. In October of that year, he returned to Guyana serving as pastor at Scarboro’s parish in Springlands and then assisting at the Society’s central house in Providence, East Berbice-Corentyne, just outside of Georgetown.

Taking a sabbatical year in 1979, Fr. Vince took courses at the Toronto School of Theology while living in Scarboro’s house of formation in the city together with the formation students. He continued assisting with the Formation Education Department while taking a one-year course in Clinical Pastoral Education.

In 1981, Fr. Vince was appointed to the Society’s mission in Chiapas, Mexico, as part of a team walking among Indigenous peoples, the Tzotzil, living in remote villages. It was the start of a new mixed team approach to mission for Scarboro Missions — priests and lay missioners, women and men. He attended language study in the city of Cuernavaca, but in January 1983 the Society closed its mission in Chiapas and Fr. Vince returned to Canada.

By 1988, he was head of the Promotion Department at Scarboro’s central house while also serving on the House team, taking care of the day-to-day health and wellness needs of the Scarboro Missions community living there. On weekends, he served as chaplain to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Toronto.

In 1990, Fr. Heffernan began the Second Chance Ministry of which he was most proud. Located at the Scarboro Mission Centre, Second Chance offered counseling and spiritual direction to women with post-abortion syndrome.

Until his retirement in 2010, Fr. Heffernan contributed to the formation of candidates for mission and also continued to work as a health and wellness coordinator, offering spiritual direction, counseling, and healing Masses. He also served on a team of house coordinators for those missioners residing at the Society’s central house.

He was a proud honorary life member of the Knights of Columbus with Toronto Council 1388.

As a young missioner serving in a foreign land, culture, and language, his early words speak volumes about what Fr. Vince truly sought: “…in the long run and regardless of cultural differences, what is really needed is someone who can understand the human heart.”

The family will receive friends at the Crawford Funeral Chapel, 243 George Street, Arthur, Ontario on Thursday August 19, 2021. 

Please choose  Book a Visitation time below or you can call the Crawford Funeral Chapel at 519-848-6872 to attend the visitation.

A Celebration of Life Funeral Mass will be held in St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Arthur on Friday August 20th, 2021 followed by interment in St. John’s Cemetery, Arthur.

Due to Covid restrictions, our family is limited to 60 attendees for the Funeral Mass therefore it will be immediate family members or by invitation only.

The Funeral Mass will be video taped and will be uploaded to the funeral home website under Vincent’s notice by Monday, August 23, 2021 at 9 a.m.

As expressions of sympathy, donations to Aid to Women, Toronto Charitable Registration number is: 88985 9468RR0001 or Sisters of Life – Canada, would be appreciated by the family.  For the Sisters of Life – Canada, a cheque can be written to The Sisters of Life and mailed to 172 Leslie Street, Toronto M4M 3C7 or you could send them an e-transfer.  The Sisters of Life Charitable Registration number is: 80755 7624 RR0001.


Video Tribute Link

Funeral Service Link

Graveside Service Link with Eulogies