The Rev. Msgr. Francis J. Veith, 55, a Washington native who was vicar for St. Mary's County in Maryland, died Sunday in Providence Hospital. He had cancer.

Msgr. Veith was elevated to prelate of honor by Pope Paul VI in 1970 and served in the Priest Senate during the early 1970s.

He had been made dean of St. Mary's and Calvert counties in 1968 and was named vicar for St. Mary's Conty in 1974.

In 1977, Msgr. Veith was appointed director of the Cardinal O'Boyle Residence for Elderly and Convalescent Priests in Hyattsville. He held that post until becoming pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Avenue, Md., in May 1979. He was pastor there until his death.

Msgr. Veith was born in Washington and attended Gonzaga High School and St. Charles College in Catonsville, Md., before entering St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained on June 11, 1949.

He was an assistant pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring from 1949 to 1952, then an assistant pastor at St. Jane de Chantal Catholic Church in Bethesd. From 1958 to 1963, he was a Chaplain at the National Institutes of Health.

In June 1963 he became pastor of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Ridge, Md., in St. Mary's County.

Msgr. Veith had served on the Washington Archdiocesan Cemetery Board.

His survivors include a sister, Anna M. Carr of Hyattsville, and two brothers, Anthony J. of Chevy Chase, and Joseph C., of Kensington.