Funeral arrangements announced for Cardinal Foley

Posted: December 12, 2011

Cardinal John P. Foley, who died Sunday at 76, will be entombed Friday afternoon at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul following a 2 p.m. Funeral Mass.

The liturgy, expected to draw national church leaders along with the prelate's many friends, will follow a daylong viewing Thursday at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood and a shorter viewing Friday at the cathedral.

A longtime priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Foley served locally as a parochial vicar, seminary professor, and editor of the archdiocesan newspaper before leaving for Rome in 1984. There he spent nearly 24 years as first president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and more than three years as Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Fatigued by leukemia and anemia, he retired as grand master in February and returned to live at Villa St. Joseph in Darby, the archdiocesan retirement home for priests, where he died.

The viewings and funeral are open to the public. The entombment, in a crypt beneath the cathedral's main altar, will be a private ceremony because of limited space.

Services will begin Thursday at 9 a.m., when the body will be received in the main lobby of the seminary.

From there it will be taken to the seminary's Chapel of St. Martin of Tours, where the cardinal will lie in state following morning prayers.

At 7 p.m., Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Thomas will celebrate Mass, after which the chapel will be closed.

The Rev. Dennis Gill, director of the archdiocese's Office for Worship, said the seminary was chosen for the viewing because Foley had graduated from it in 1962 and had served for many years on its faculty. He often stayed there during his frequent visits from Rome.

On Friday, starting about 9:15 a.m., a funeral motorcade will transport his body to the cathedral, arriving about 10 a.m.

Following prayers, the cardinal will lie in state until 1:30 p.m.

The Funeral Mass will begin with a procession into the cathedral at 2 p.m. Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, wearing capes bearing the order's large crimson cross, will serve as honor guard.

Following Mass, the coffin will be carried into the crypt beneath the main altar, where it will be immured after a brief Rite of Committal.

The crypt contains the bodies of three priests and 14 former bishops, archbishops and cardinal-archbishops, including Michael Francis Egan, Philadelphia's first bishop. The last person entombed there was Cardinal John Krol, in March 1996.


Contact staff writer David O'Reilly at 215-854-5723 or doreilly@phillynews.com.

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