By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Seminarian Scott Foley took his final step toward priesthood for the Diocese of Davenport. He was ordained a deacon Sept. 27 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops presided. Forty men were ordained that day as deacons for the United States and Australia.
“It was a great blessing. Words do not do it justice,” Deacon Foley said by email from Rome. He was vested by Father Joseph Johnson of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Foley served an internship at Fr. Johnson’s parish.
Father Joseph Sia, the Davenport Diocese’s vocation director, attended the ordination. It was his first experience at a Vatican ordination. He said he attended to “support our seminarian. Every ordination is an important event for the entire diocese and I wanted to be there to represent our diocese as well.”
Fr. Sia was among hundreds of priests who concelebrated the Mass. Many deacons assisted.
“I’ve attended many ordinations but this was special for many reasons. It was in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Altar of the Chair; the grandeur and symbolism of the venue were inspiring. Cardinal DiNardo was the main celebrant and he gave an insightful and practical homily,” Fr. Sia said. “To see so many young men ordained who will hopefully be priests someday was amazing. The liturgy was celebrated beautifully and the choir was excellent. Finally, there were probably a couple-thousand people in the assembly who had come from all over the world to witness this event. All of this made the three-hour Mass seem like it happened in an instant.”
Dianne Foley, Deacon Foley’s mother, is still taking in the experience. “Seeing Scott ordained at the Vatican was overwhelmingly beautiful, almost surreal coming from small-town Williamsburg. We are thankful that Scott has found ‘his purpose,’ has grown in knowledge and love of God through excellent teaching at St. Paul Seminary and Pontifical North American College (PNAC), along with the work and wisdom of his spiritual directors and formators.”
Family members accompanying her at the ordination Mass were Deacon Foley’s father, Terry; siblings Bobbi, Kevin and Matt; and the deacon’s three nephews. The parent section was the first section of seating, Dianne Foley noted. She described the Mass as “profoundly spirit-filled,” with angelically beautiful music led by the PNAC men’s choir.
“The cardinal gave an outstanding homily focusing on the meaning of the promises that would be made to the bishop/church. As the men lay face down on the altar floor, the saints were asked to intercede and strengthen their promises just made to serve Christ and his church on earth. It was a reminder to me that we are just small players in God’s plan for humanity but these men (ordained clergy and new deacons) have answered the call to service, to care for all God’s children as disciples of Christ.”
Dianne Foley said Scott began wearing a religious medal after making his first Communion and continued to do so growing up. In the summer of 2011, he shared his thoughts with his parents about his possible calling. “It caught him by surprise….why now, why me, his mother said. God is good and over a period of time with prayer and the help of spiritual direction it led to seminary.”
God willing, Deacon Foley and Deacon Terry Ball will be ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 2019, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Deacon Ball was ordained to the diaconate June 30, 2018, at the cathedral.
Deacon Foley, 34, was born in Iowa City and raised in Williamsburg. He graduated from Williamsburg schools and the University of Iowa with a BSE in civil engineering and a business minor. After college, he worked as an engineer. He began his seminary studies at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and is completing theology studies at the North American College in Rome.
He has completed internships at Holy Family Parish in St. Louis Park, Minn.; St. Mary Parish in Grinnell; Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf; and St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. He also has served as an English teacher at Mokpo Catholic University in Mokpo, South Korea, and worked with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.
Between now and his priesthood ordination, Deacon Foley will be assigned to Thomas More College in Rome, a U.S.- based college with a study abroad program. He said additional details will be provided to him in the coming weeks. He knows he will be involved with eucharistic adoration and ministry to students.
As he works toward ordination, Deacon Foley said, “Keep Jesus in the center, and all will be well.”