I received a text message from a good friend, Lt. Spencer Colgan, N.Y.P.D. (retired), who is a former student of mine in the 1985-1986 academic year at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday evening, February 22, 2018, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch, asking us to pray for Miss Helen Franco, who was born on March 28, 1928, after she had suffered a massive heart attack.
As Helen was so very kind to us when her late brother, Father Salvatore V. Franco, permitted us to assist at his offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in the house where they lived together in Westbury, Long Island, New York, from April to November of 2002 before Father Franco was diagnosed with acute leukemia, I picked up the phone to speak with Spencer to find out more details. Spencer’s first words were, “She just died,” whereupon we both prayed “Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
Helen Franco took care of her parents and her brother after the latter had a heart attack at the age of thirty-seven in 1963 and subsequently retired from the Diocese of Brooklyn, which permitted him to offer the Immemorial Mass of Tradition privately. (For my tribute, written when I was still an “indulterer” but making a transition into the schismatic “resist while recognize” camp, to Father Franco, who died on Friday, December 13, 2002, the Feast of Saint Lucy, please see Home to His Mother--Daily Catholic.) She remained very active in the fifteen years after her brother’s death as she continued to host and cook dinners for large gatherings of Catholics, especially for the famed M&M Twins who had relied so heavily for spiritual advice from Father Franco. The “boys,” who are in their fifties, looked after Helen very devotedly. Helen, in turn, treated them as her sons.
It was this motherly care that Helen Franco, who never married and devoted her life to the care of her family, gave to Lieutenant Spencer Colgan whenever he had jobs to paint houses on Long Island, and it this care that forms the basis of the beautiful tribute he wrote to honor her in death after he had been the recipient of her gracious and unsparing generosity.
We ourselves last saw Helen at the Milleridge Inn, Jericho, Long Island, New York, on Thursday, July 26, 2012, during a brief visit back “home” to Long Island, although we spoke with her on the phone during a less than twenty-four hour visit seven months ago. However, she remained in our prayers every day in life, and her immortal soul will remain in our prayers every day now that she has died. Those who have died in a state of Sanctifying Grace are closer to us after death than they ever were in this passing, mortal vale of tears. We in the Church Militant must remember always to stay united in prayers to the members of the Church Suffering in Purgatory, who, though being incapable of helping themselves can intercede for our own spiritual and temporal needs.
It is my privilege, therefore, to offer this site’s readers Lt. Spencer Colgan’s tribute to the late Helen Franco, R.I.P.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Work on my own next article continues.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Matthias, pray for us.