I am writing to add my voice to the scores of others that have already sung the praises of John Cardinal Foley. Truly a man of the people, Cardinal Foley could engage anyone in genuine conversation because of his heartfelt belief that every human being is a child of God and worthy of sincere respect. His ability to relate to people, to listen to their concerns, and to express his empathy and advice in ways that touched their hearts earned him a reputation as the “Great Communicator.”
In May 2010, Neumann University had the privilege of awarding an honorary degree to Cardinal Foley, who accepted with a humility that belied his title — Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
From the commencement stage that day, the Cardinal quipped that “receiving an honorary degree is a little like canonization.” He then revealed his admiration for St. John Neumann, our University’s namesake. “My mother pinned a relic of him to my crib when I was a baby. I am very grateful and a bit too proud to have now received a diploma that bears his name.”
Born in Darby, Pennsylvania, the Cardinal spent his life pursuing his passion for education, journalism, Catholicism, and leadership. He held several communications roles for the Church, including editor of The Catholic Standard and Times, co-producer/host of the Philadelphia Catholic Hour on radio, and press secretary for the U.S. Bishops conference.
Those who knew him are grateful for his passion and commitment to education, and for his continual service to and superb leadership of the Catholic Church. He will be missed.