More tributes to Cardinal Foley (part 2)

(CNS/Paul Haring)

It was no surprise that, as soon as I posted links yesterday to some of the tributes being written for the late Cardinal John P. Foley, several new ones would come in:

  • Bob Zyskowski, associate publisher of The Catholic Spirit in St. Paul, Minn., writes movingly of the cardinal as a mentor (he hired the 22-year-old Zyskowski in 1974 to be news and sports editor at The Catholic Standard & Times in Philadelphia) and a friend (he baptized two of the four Zyskowski children). He recalls that the future cardinal taught “the truism that Catholic media have nothing to fear from reporting bad news” and showed him “how to love the church, warts and all.”
  • Msgr. Owen F. Campion, associate publisher at Our Sunday Visitor, was another close Catholic press friend of the cardinal. (My wife still chuckles when she remembers seeing the two of them laughing and trading stories over breakfast at a hotel coffee shop six years ago.) Msgr. Campion remembers his last visit with the cardinal three weeks earlier and says no one ever could miss seeing his profound faith.

He knew the importance of words

(CNS/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY — I first met Cardinal John Foley on the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base in March 1984. Of course, he wasn’t a cardinal then. He was editor of The Catholic Standard and Times, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and he had just returned from serving on a U.S. government-sponsored mission to monitor elections in El Salvador. I was in Washington for a few weeks, and he was my assignment that day.

Msgr. Foley said the elections had been essentially fair and that the people showed a real enthusiasm for the electoral process. He backed that up with comments from some of the 100 or so voters he had spoken with at polling places. He said El Salvador needed more U.S. aid, but when I asked about President Reagan’s request for additional military aid, his answer surprised me: he said he would “hate to say yes” to such a request.

“As a priest, I’m not enthusiastic about recommending more arms,” Msgr. Foley said. “I felt great empathy with Archbishop Rivera Damas when he said, `All the arms come from outside the country, but all the victims come from inside the country.’”

Msgr. Foley impressed me that day as someone who gave real answers. He measured his words carefully, but didn’t hide behind them.

A few weeks later, we met up in Rome. I was a correspondent for CNS and now-Archbishop Foley had just been named president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Our paths would cross many times over the next 27 years, often at press conferences but more often at lunches at Taverna Giulia, one of his favorite restaurants in Rome.

Cardinal Foley took journalism seriously. He was an attentive and daily reader of Catholic News Service, and if he thought we wrote something good, he’d phone and tell us so. Occasionally, he’d weigh in with a criticism, which we took all the more seriously because of his absolute sense of fairness.

As a Roman Curia official, Cardinal Foley made an unusually good impression with the local Vaticanisti. He was a breath of fresh air at Vatican press conferences — straightforward, concise and witty. Many times I heard Italian reporters describe him with the single word simpatico, “friendly.”

And in fact, inside or outside the Vatican, he was someone who made friends quickly, because he was genuinely interested in people. He was a man of deep and cheerful faith, and I always considered him one of the Vatican’s most effective evangelizers.

More tributes to Cardinal John P. Foley

(CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

Here are some other links to remembrances and tributes to Cardinal John P. Foley, who died yesterday at age 76.

Other remembrances of Cardinal Foley can be found on this tribute page on the website of The Catholic Standard & Times, where the cardinal worked as a reporter, assistant editor and editor before being called to Rome.

And read our story posted earlier today on what the pope and other current and former Vatican officials had to say about the passing of Cardinal Foley.

Cardinal Foley remembered: ‘He had time for everyone’

By Michael Kelly
Deputy Editor, The Irish Catholic

(CNS/Bob Roller)

DUBLIN — I first met Cardinal Foley while I was a naïve young reporter in my early 20s fresh to the Vatican beat in 2002. We met at the Church of Santa Susanna, Rome’s “American parish” where he stayed long after the Mass warmly greeting those who had turned out. He had time for everyone.

When I spoke to him and he realised I was Irish his eyes lit up as he spoke fondly of the Irish priests of his childhood parish. “There’s a reason why my middle name is Patrick,” he joked.

Over my next few years in Rome he was always helpful and kindly, even when he wasn’t always free to answer some of my questions. He had an immediate rapport and openness to the media which was refreshing in an institution that sometimes treats journalists with suspicion and sometimes hostility.

He was always ready to point one in the direction of a good story and offer his insights gleaned over long years in the Roman Curia.

Remembering Cardinal Foley: Friend to the Catholic press around the world

By Thomas N. Lorsung
Former CNS director and editor in chief

John Patrick Cardinal Foley was both formal and funny.

Even when facing a deadly bout with leukemia, he kept his sense of humor. When he retired as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, he returned to his native Philadelphia to deal with his serious illness and was interviewed sympathetically by the local daily press. Responding to a comment that it was a good story, he quipped, “That might be the first time leukemia was seen as good.”

(CNS/Paul Haring)

Pardon me if that vignette doesn’t make you laugh quite as hard as those of us who heard it directly from him. He deadpanned the details until the punch line and then delivered it with the proverbial twinkle in his eye.

You missed something if you only saw one side of Cardinal Foley. (I’ve probably known him for 40 years, but never called him John, but that’s another story.) He pronounced every syllable when he spoke or prayed; he followed liturgical rules to the letter. I don’t think that he owned a plaid shirt.

But his punning was legendary and his mock-Dracula accent in telling stories about international dignitaries was hilarious. Happily, my wife, Mary, and several members of our family enjoyed these qualities during visits to Rome over the years.

As director of Catholic News Service, I appreciated his unwavering and enthusiastic support for our work, but he was also a friend to the Catholic press around the world, as I witnessed during Pontifical Council for Social Communications meetings in Rome and in international gatherings from Brazil to Bangkok.

As I mentioned, I never called him by his first name because I wanted to honor his sense of propriety. Somehow he wasn’t John or Jack.

I think of two things now that he has passed: my favorite prayer for the dead, “May the angels lead him into Paradise;” and the prayer which he unfailingly and immediately said upon hearing of a death, “May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”

Thomas N. Lorsung retired as director and editor in chief of Catholic News Service at the end of 2003, after a career at CNS which began three decades earlier.

Blessed Marianne Cope’s cause moves ahead; news on other causes

Icon of Blessed Marianne Cope by Margaret Girdwood. (CNS photo)

On Wednesday, we reported that the path to canonization for Blessed Marianne Cope has been clearedafter a Vatican congregation has confirmed a second miracle attributed to her intercession. The final step for her canonization is approval by Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican decision was announced Dec. 6 by the sister’s religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in Syracuse, N.Y., and by Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva. At the same time unconfirmed reports surfaced that an announcement will be made in mid-December about the approval of a second miracle attributed to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha’s intercession, which would clear the way for her canonization.

There also is news about other sainthood causes. In mid-November, Catholic New York, newspaper of the New York Archdiocese, reported that with approval from the Vatican, the cause for Bishop James A. Walsh has been formally opened, The bishop was co-founder in 1911 of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, better known as Maryknoll. A ceremony took place Nov. 9 at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan. According to Catholic New York, the cause for Maryknoll co-founder Father Thomas Frederick Price is pending in Raleigh, N.C.

In the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., the home diocese of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Msgr. Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Foundation, announced that this Sunday there will be a Mass to close the investigation tribunal that examined an alleged miracle attributed to the intercession of the archbishop. It will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, All the official documents related to the case will be sealed for shipment to Rome at the Dec. 11 Mass.

“If the pope approves this alleged miracle, we could have the first beatification ever on American soil here in Peoria, Illinois,” said the foundation.

A tribunal of inquiry was sworn in last September to investigate the case of  James Fulton Engstrom, who celebrated his first birthday Sept. 16, 2011. His parents, Travis and Bonnie Engstrom, believe James is alive because of the intercession of Archbishop Sheen. On the day of his birth he was considered stillborn, though his mother had had a healthy pregnancy and experienced “a beautiful, short labor.”

James was without a pulse for the first 61 minutes of his life. It was only when doctors at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria were ready to call the time of death “that his little heart started beating.”

The archbishop’s cause was officially opened in 2002. The Sheen Foundation centralized its operations in the diocese in 2007.

Pope, like Moses, moving to a tablet?

The pope gets help using an iPad to launch the Vatican's new news portal last June. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano)

UPDATE: Turns out he used a Sony S Tablet.

Apparently Pope Benedict XVI is not using an iPad tomorrow to light the ginormous outline of a Christmas tree on the side of Mount Ingino.

Last month it was reported that the pope would use an iPad from his Vatican residence to light the tree, which is in the Italian town of Gubbio. But today, Vatican Information Service reported that the pope will touch the screen of a Sony tablet with an Android operating system.

No word yet on whether the initial reports that the pope would use an iPad were based on an erroneous assumption that since the pope used an iPad last June to launch the new Vatican news portal he would do the same tomorrow. Our intrepid Rome bureau is checking it out.

Meanwhile, initial reaction from bloggers and technogeeks has been mixed. Rocco Palmo, author of the popular Whispers in the Loggia blog, called the pope an “apostate” (undoubtedly with tongue firmly in cheek). Clayton Emmer, who may have been first to notice the switch to Sony, called it an “ecumenical gesture.”

As a recent iPad convert who still has one foot firmly in the Windows operating system and who has witnessed the battle for PC, Mac and Android supremacy,  I would tend to agree with the latter.

Oblate priest in Philippines named 2011 Aquino Fellow

The U.S. Embassy to the Philippines has named an Oblate priest a 2011 Aquino Fellow for his outstanding work in journalism.

Oblate Father Eduardo Vasquez was chosen for his video documentary work in troubled Maguindanao province. Our friends at UCA News have a great photo of Father Vazquez at work as well as a story about him.

Look for Father Vasquez in the United States: As an Aquino Fellow, he will participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program. He and other fellows will spend three weeks in the States, meeting with American counterparts, learning about the government and experiencing the country’s cultural and social life.

Minnesota priest heard Lincoln’s call for Civil War chaplains

April marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and some folks might think there wouldn’t be much interest in Catholic-related stories about the War Between the States too far outside Washington or beyond the site of the major battles between North and South. But then along comes a feature from one of the Catholic newpapers in the Midwest.

The story in the Nov. 21 issue of The Catholic Spirit, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, describes how Father John Ireland of Minnesota tended to the spiritual needs of soldiers on the battlefield.

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called for priests to serve as Civil War hospital chaplains. Twenty-two answered, among them a young Minnesotan.

Read the full story here. The Minnesota Military Museum has an exhibit about the role of Minnesotans’ role in the Civil War.

Israel’s Gospel Trail: for hikers, bikers — and pilgrims

By Judith Sudilovsky
Catholic News Service

GALILEE, Israel — The scene was one of tranquil beauty: In front lay the Sea of Galilee in all shades of blue, with a solitary boat floating on the calm surface of the lake. Beyond, in a blurry haze of pink and purple, were the mountains of the Golan Heights. To the right was the green valley of Ginossar and to the left, hidden by greenery, was Tabgha, where Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

Students and journalists participate in a pre-launch tour of the Gospel Trail from Mt. Precipice, Nazareth, to the Jazreel Valley, April 14, 2011. CNS photo/ Debbie Hill

A group of 20 intrepid reporters had climbed up to the top of Tel Kinrot, an ancient archaeological site dating back to the Bronze and Iron ages, just above the shore of the Sea of Galilee, as part of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism’s inaugural event for the official opening of its new Gospel Trail, which marks the path Jesus might have followed when he left Nazareth and began his ministry.

While tourism ministry officials cannot be 100 percent sure of the exact trail Jesus took in his wanderings, they picked one which, according to topographical and Biblical research, seemed like a logical possibility, said Uri Sharon of the religious tourism department.

Tourism officials hope to encourage restaurants, shuttles and overnight accommodations along the path to help the local economy. Already, a small kiosk selling drinks and snacks at the edge of the small Bedouin village of Wadi Hamam at the foot of Mount Arbel is looking forward to an increase in business.

The trail starts at Mount Precipice, just outside Nazareth, and continues eastward to Capernaum, where Jesus established his ministry and met his first disciple Peter. Stops along the way include the Mount of Beatitudes, the home of Mary Magdalene, and Tabgha. A segment is also part of the national Israel Trail, which crosses the entire country.

An overview of Nazareth from Mount Precipice, Nazareth, where The Gospel Trail begins. CNS photo/Debbie Hill

Sitting at the festive lunch at the end the journey, retired Anglican Bishop Riah Abo el-Assal, retired Melkite Catholic Archbishop Pierre Mouallem and Melkite Archbishop Elias Chacour said they were glad to see effort spent to improve Christian pilgrimage. They were less enthusiastic about side industries such as bike riding and horseback riding, which they said were not suited for a contemplative pilgrimage experience along the trail.

The Gospel should come before the trail — and before the horses and the bicycles, said Bishop Abo el-Assal.

“I am happy they took this initiative to illustrate the fact that Jesus Christ was here and walked around this area,” said Archbishop Chacour. “Although there is the intention to commercialize these places, it nonetheless comes back to the real event of Jesus Christ spending his time around this lake, the most holy place in the Holy Land, where man has not yet changed the landscape.”


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