Beloved Bishop Emeritus David Edward Foley, third bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama, peacefully passed away at the St. John Vianney Residence for Priests in Birmingham, Alabama surrounded by friends at 7:01 p.m on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 88.
Bishop Foley was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on February 3, 1930. In 1934 his father was appointed Assistant Attorney General of the United States of America and the family moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church and elementary school.
In 1944, he entered high school at Saint Charles College minor seminary in Catonsville, Maryland. In 1950, he continued studies at Saint Mary's Seminary, Paca Street, Baltimore, Maryland, receiving the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy with a minor in Education in 1952. He completed his post graduate studies at Saint Mary’s Seminary, Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland, receiving the Pontifical Degree of Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) in 1956.
On May 26, 1956 he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle in Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, Washington, D.C.
For 30 years he served in several parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington. On June 27, 1986 he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Richmond, Virginia by Bishop Walter Sullivan in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Virginia.
After eight years, on May 13, 1994 he was installed as the third Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Birmingham. During his time in Birmingham, he hosted Pillars of Faith, a live television program on the Eternal Word Television Network, from 1994-2000. Throughout his years of ministry he served on numerous boards and committees including the Executive Committee of Board of Trustees for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
He served 11 years as the Bishop of Birmingham submitting his resignation to Pope Saint John Paul II at the age of 75 as required by Canon Law. Bishop Foley was elected by the Diocesan Consultors to serve 2 1/2 years as Administrator of the diocese prior to the installation of Bishop Robert J. Baker, S.T.D. in 2007.
Bishop Foley’s retirement was in name only: he never stopped being a priest, which was the true love of his life. He would spend Christmas and Thanksgiving at prisons, celebrate Mass for any priest for any reason in any parish at any time, and would regularly help with Confirmations. Always humble, he quietly continued his ministry, which included visiting the sick at hospitals each week and celebrating Mass once a week for the elderly unable to travel. He lived a full and happy life as a priest, setting an example to all on how to live fearlessly following Christ.
Bishop Foley was preceded in death by his father George F. Foley, his mother Ellen Vincent Quinn Foley, and his brothers George V. Foley and William F. Foley.
Bishop Foley’s body will be received at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, 2120 3rd Avenue, North, in Birmingham on Sunday, April 22, at 2 p.m.
Following reception of the body, prayers will be held on the hour until 6:30 p.m. A Rosary will begin at 4 p.m., led by Father Kevin Bazzel. At 6:30 p.m., Bishop Robert J. Baker, current bishop of the Birmingham diocese, will preside over the Vesper service with Abbot Cletus Meagher of St. Bernard Abbey preaching.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, April 23, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Archbishop Thomas Rodi of the Archdiocese of Mobile will preside. Burial will immediately follow in the Cathedral of Saint Paul courtyard.
The Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama would like to thank Hope Hospice, the caregivers, doctors, and St. John Vianney Residence for Priests staff for the superb care given to Bishop Foley during his illness.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Seminarian Education Fund, Diocese of Birmingham, P.O. Box 12047, Birmingham, AL 35202-2047.