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Catholic Press Remembers Cardinal Foley

Cardinal John P. Foley poses with members of the Catholic press after celebrating Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome in this 26 Nov. 2007 file photo. The Mass was held for family and friends of Cardinal Foley two days after he was made a cardinal. Cardinal Foley, a dean of the Catholic press in the United States, died 11 Darby, PA, after a battle with leukemia. He was 76. Cardinal Foley spent more than two decades leading the church’s social communications council and later worked for the church in the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring) 

15 Dec 2011 – by Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley, longtime Catholic journalist and advocate of Catholic communication, was being fondly remembered after his Dec. 11 death as a friend to the Catholic press around the world.

The cardinal, a Philadelphia native, was residing at Villa St. Joseph in Darby, the home for retired Philadelphia archdiocesan priests, when he died of leukemia at age 76.

“I was pleased that he was able to come home during the final months of his life. No matter where he lived or how he served the church over the years, he always considered Philadelphia his home,” said Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

The archbishop described Cardinal Foley as “a man of great apostolic energy” and said anyone who met him “was immediately aware of his intense love for the church and his zeal for communicating the Gospel.”

“By the sheer force of his personality, he drew people to the faith and to himself,” he said, adding that the cardinal’s “charisma and gentle spirit will be sorely missed throughout the universal church.”

The cardinal’s body was to lie in repose for public viewing Dec. 15 at the chapel of St. Martin of Tours at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood. His body also was to lie in state Dec. 16 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia prior to the 2 p.m. funeral Mass.

Cardinal Foley was known for his many different roles: editor of Philadelphia’ ;s archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard & Times, 1970-1984; head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, 1984 to 2007; and most recently, grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric organization dedicated to supporting the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and to responding to the needs of Catholics in the Holy Land.

To many, he was known as the Vatican’s “Voice of Christmas” in his role as English-language commentator for the pope’s midnight Mass for 25 years.

New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in a Dec. 15 statement, said in all his roles related to communications over the years, Cardinal Foley “embodied the best of what it means to be a communicator, a priest and a believer.”

“He urged the church to be transparent and saw media as vital to society and worthy of respect. He was the mastermind behind the coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II, recognizing the need to facilitate media efforts at the passing of a church and world figure like no other in the modern age,” the archbishop said. “Such foresight united the world in prayer.”

As grand master, he added, the cardinal “reached out in a particular way to Christians in a troubled part of the world. His kindness and love for Christ’s church will remain with all who encountered him.”

Greg Erlandson, president of the Catholic Press Association, described the cardinal as a “bright, witty, humble man who served his church faithfully and well in many capacities.”

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