By Michael Kelly
Deputy Editor, The Irish Catholic
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.