23 December 2016

Columban Fr Maurice Foley RIP

Fr Maurice Vincent Foley
(2 February 1933 - 18 December 2016)

Castlefinn [Wikipedia]

Fr Maurice Foley was born at Castlefinn, County Donegal, Ireland on 2 February 1933. He was educated at Dunbeacon National School, Ballydehob, County Cork, Belvedere College Preparatory School and Belvedere College, Dublin, St Patrick’s College, Armagh, and University College Dublin. He entered St Columban’s, Dalgan Park, Navan, in 1952 and was ordained priest there on 21 December 1958.

Wonju [Wikipedia]

Appointed to Korea in 1959, Father Maurice was assigned to Ulchin and Chunchon after language studies. After the division of the Diocese of Chunchon, he was assigned to the new Diocese of Wonju  and to the new parish of Tokgae. He ministered there for most of the remainder of his years in Korea during the difficult period of the military dictatorship.

Huancavalica [Wikipedia]

By 1977, it was clear to him that the Church in Korea was growing rapidly and producing enough priests to cater to its own needs. He asked the Superior General to be assigned to Peru; as he wrote himself ‘I saw space for my missionary zeal in the land of the Incas’. After language studies his initial assignment was to Huancavalica, working at high altitude in the Sierra, until he was advised that working at sea-level would be easier on his health.

Cathedral, Huancavalica [Wikipedia]

Assignments in the Lima area included the parishes of Santíssimo Redentor, Santa María de la Reconciliación and Nuestra Señora de la Paz. In all these areas he enjoyed a happy and successful ministry. He could come across at times as rather abrupt, and could be impetuous, especially when the poor were being treated unjustly. However nobody could doubt his goodness and kindness, and the love that he lavished on the people was repaid with interest.

High Altar, Cathedral, Lima [Wikipedia]

In 2012 his health had begun to deteriorate and he returned to Ireland. For a short period he had enough energy to ride his beloved bicycle but in recent months his illness confined him to his room. There he loved to welcome visitors.  Father Maurice was blessed with a childlike simplicity, a generous heart and a quality of being so genuine that his sincerity could not be doubted. We will miss his truly unique presence.

Father Maurice was buried in St Columban's Cemetery, Dalgan Park, on 21 December, the 58th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.


May he rest in peace.

Crucifix, St Columban's Cemetery, Dalgan Park

Silent Night / Sumaq Tuta
Sung in Quechua, the mother-tongue of the majority of people in Huancavalica, where Father Maurice first worked in Peru.

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