Skip to comments.Soldier's Death Led Catholic Priest to Become Chaplain
Posted on 12/04/2009 9:13:46 AM PST by marshmallow
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan - Capt. Matt Foley hasn't presided over any weddings or christenings since he arrived here in April - not much call for those services in a war zone.
But the Army chaplain and Catholic priest who spent much of his childhood in Wauwatosa stays very busy ministering to nine companies in the 82nd Airborne Divisional Special Troops Battalion, delivering care packages, checking on soldiers' welfare, presiding over Catholic Masses as well as handling any calls for a priest.
And like all military chaplains, he cares for all service members regardless of their religion.
His job is very rewarding though he says the toughest part is getting to know people and sharing in sacred moments with them such as funerals and prayers and then seeing them leave when their unit returns home.
"You'd be amazed how much support we get here," said Foley, 47. "It's been eight years (since the war began in Afghanistan) and people are still sending packages which is very gracious."
Foley's journey to Afghanistan was circuitous, starting with his decision to become a priest. While attending Marquette University in the early '80s, Foley had a nice girlfriend and was majoring in political science with an eye toward law school. But he felt himself drawn to the priesthood and left Marquette in 1983, enrolling at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Chicago, where his morals and canon law classes were taught by Milwaukee's new archbishop Jerome Listecki.
Foley keeps tabs on news from Wisconsin via the Internet in Afghanistan and was happy to learn Listecki was named to head the Milwaukee archdiocese.
"He was very personable, very gracious, very challenging to students," Foley recalled. "I think he'll be good for Milwaukee."
(Excerpt) Read more at jsonline.com ...
"I'm a Catholic priest and I know there's a shortage of Catholic priests in the Army. I thought it was my time to serve," Foley said in his office at Enduring Faith Chapel at this large air base north of Kabul.
Thank you for your service, Father Foley.
Agreed, Thank you Father Foley!
If Foley's name sounds familiar to Saturday Night Live fans, it's because Chris Farley named his motivational speaker character after Foley. The two became friends while rugby players at Marquette and when Farley created the loud, brash character at Second City he would use the name of an audience member. When Foley went to see Farley at Second City, the comedian promised he would always use his friend's name, which he did when he brought the character to Saturday Night Live.
What a great story. Thank you for devoting your life to Christ’s service, Fr. Foley. Godspeed...
God bless him and keep him safe.
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Great story. Thank you for your service, Father Foley.
Oui...Merci Père Foley
Thanks for the ping!
Seems that the navy required him to retire at 62 after having served 19 years.
They said it was cheaper to pay a Lt than a Captain.
If there is a shortage of priests in the military...some of it might be deliberate.
Thanks for posting this fascinating story. There is a big Foley clan in Milwaukee. Some of them owned/own land across the road from me whcih they use as a summer home, although I don’t know them. I wonder if Matt is part of that group? The older ones have died or are in their late 80’s now. That Foley clan included a famous doctor and a well-known judge. One of the daughters was killed about 20 years ago in a Sunday mugging at her company’s parking garage in Minneapolis. Tragic.
MEL’ -PASSION- sparked by -WE WERE SOLDIERS-