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Archbishop John P. Foley papers

Identifier: MC117

Scope and Contents

This collection concernes the life of Cardinal John Foley, from his childhood to his passing in 2011.

Series I contains correspdondence between Father Foley and various individuals, starting from his time in the Jesuit Novitiate. A large amount of letters, located in an oversized box, between Father Foley and his parents.

Series II deals with Foiley's life as a priest, form his days at St Charles Borromeo Seminary up until he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

Series III is centered around his education, including events in Rome that Foley attended while studying there.

Series IV contains materials related to Foley's status as Observer to the Presidential Election in El Salvador in 1984.

Series V is the various forms of media found in the collection, such as pictures and DVDs. A large box contains scanned, oversized photos from Father Foley's first Mass in 1962.

Series VI contains various publications, both written by Father Foley or others. two large boxes contains newspaer articles where foley is the sujecct or written by him.

Series IV contains miscellaneous items.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1949 - 2011

Biographical / Historical

Cardinal John Patrick Foley was born on November 11, 1935, in Darby, PA, the only child of John Edward and Regina (Vogt) Foley of Sharon Hill, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

He graduated from Holy Spirit School, Sharon Hill; St. Joseph's Preparatory School and St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, where he obtained a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in history in 1957. He entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook, Philadelphia and received a bachelor's degree in philosophy there in 1958.

He was ordained a priest on May 19, 1962, by Archbishop (later Cardinal) John J. Krol in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia. His first priestly assignment was as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Church, Manoa, Havertown, Philadelphia. In 1963, he was named assistant editor of The Catholic Standard and Times and was assigned to graduate study in Rome, where he also served as Rome correspondent of the newspaper from 1963 until 1965 during the second and third sessions of the Second Vatican Council.

He received his licentiate degree in Philosophy in 1964 and his doctorate cum laude in 1965 from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) with a dissertation on "Natural Law, Natural Right and the Warren Court". In 1966, he received the degree of Master of Science in Journalism magna cum laude from Columbia University in New York, where he was president of the student body of the Journalism School and representative on the University Council.

In 1967, he was once again named assistant editor of The Catholic Standard and Times and named editor in 1970. In 1976, he was named an honorary prelate of His Holiness with the title of Monsignor.

On April 9, 1984, he was named by Pope John Paul II as president of the Pontifical Commission (now Pontifical Council) for Social Communications at the Vatican, with the title of Titular Archbishop of Neapolis in Proconsulari. He was ordained an Archbishop by Cardinal Krol in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on May 8 1984; he is the only person to be ordained both to the priesthood and the episcopate by Cardinal Krol. He began his work in Rome in June 1984, and was given the additional responsibility of president of the council of administration of the Vatican Television Center from August 1984 until December 1989. His responsibilities also include the Vatican Film Library.

He was also a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America from 1984 until 1989, which is evident from his role as Observer of the Presidential Election of 1984 in El Salvador.

On June 27, 2007, Archbishop Foley was elevated to the rank of Cardinal and named by Pope Benedict XVI Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. he passed away on November 21, 2011.


3.5 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Ascession No. 2020.021

Custodial History

A seperate collection, MC106: John Foley papers, contains material relating to Archbishop Foley's role at the 1980 Synod of Bishops in Rome, the Holy Year of Renewal and Reconciliation in 1974, and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1969 to the 1980s.

Archbishop John P. Foley papers
Richard Girkin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Catholic Historical Research Center of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Repository

6719 Calvert Street
Philadelphia PA 19149