Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Well-Deserved Honor, An Invigorating Dialogue!

In celebration of the World Day of Social Communications, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary will host the second annual John Cardinal Foley Symposium. The day’s events include a public forum, Mass, and an awards dinner.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
3:00 p.m.
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary
Vianney Hall Auditorium
100 East Wynnewood Road
Wynnewood, PA 19096 (Montgomery County)

The public forum, beginning at 3:00 p.m., features a panel of communications professionals in discussion about the message of Pope Francis on “Communicating Hope and Trust in Our Time.” Mark Abrams, from KYW Newsradio, will be joined by the Rev. James Chern, director of the Newman Catholic Center at Montclair State University, and Michael Smith, associate professor of communications at LaSalle University. The discussion is open to the public free of charge.

A Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord will be celebrated at 5:00 p.m. in the Immaculate Conception Chapel. The Most Reverend Timothy Senior, Rector of the Seminary, will be the main celebrant.

A ticketed dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. in the Eakins Room, during which two awards will be presented: the Cardinal Foley Award for Excellence in Communications will be presented to Mark Abrams, longtime news anchor and reporter at KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia. In addition, the Foley Award in Social Communications will be presented to the winner of a short video competition that communicates the theme of the World Day of Social Communications. Entrants are young professionals ages 18-25.

Tickets for the symposium dinner are $40 per person or $400 for a table of 10. As seating is limited, tickets should be purchased as soon as possible by contacting Cathy Peacock at 610-785-6530 or email

Background Information on the Cardinal Foley Chair
Begun in 2013-14, the John Cardinal Foley Chair in Homiletics and Social Communications seeks to support the work of the Catholic Church in by teaching seminary students and church groups, working with staff in parishes and (arch)dioceses, and engaging in dialogue with journalists and media professionals.

At Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, the Cardinal Foley Chair sponsors an annual forum to inaugurate the academic year, an annual lecture by an internationally prominent speaker on social communications in the Church, and the annual symposium to celebrate the World Day of Social Communications. For details, visit the website at

Biographical Information on Cardinal John Patrick Foley

John Patrick Foley was born to John and Regina Foley on November 11, 1935 at Fitzgerald-Mercy Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Holy Spirit Parish in Sharon Hill (Delaware County).

He attended Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School from 1949 to 1953 and obtained a Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Saint Joseph’s College in 1957. He entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary that year and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 19, 1962.

He was assigned to further studies earning a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He also received a Licentiate degree in Philosophy from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas and earned his Doctorate in Philosophy from the same institution after completing the required coursework in only one year. During his time in Rome, he also served as Assistant Editor and Vatican correspondent for the archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times.

Upon his return to the Archdiocese in 1966, then-Father Foley was appointed Assistant Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Philadelphia, while serving on the faculty of Cardinal Dougherty High School. From 1967 to 1984, he also served on the faculty of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary teaching philosophy and acting as a spiritual director for men aspiring to the Priesthood.

From 1966 until 1974, he was also co-producer and co-host of the Philadelphia Catholic Hour on local radio station WFIL and served as Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Standard & Times from 1970 to 1984.

In 1976, he was named an honorary Prelate of His Holiness by Pope Paul VI, receiving the title of Monsignor. From 1979 to 1984, he served as Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

In 1984, he was named an Archbishop by the late Pope John Paul II and appointed President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He faithfully fulfilled this role for 23 years and spearheaded numerous evangelization efforts through the worldwide media. His consecration as an Archbishop took place at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on May 8, 1984. Cardinal John Krol served as the principal consecrator with Bishops Martin Lohmuller and Thomas Welsh serving as co-consecrators.

For 25 years, beginning in 1984, then-Archbishop Foley provided commentary for American television viewers of the Christmas Midnight Mass from Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. His last appearance on NBC-TV’s national broadcast of this Mass was in December 2009.

On June 17, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI named him Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which lends spiritual and financial support to the Catholic Church in the Holy Land and helps maintain Christian shrines in that region.

Pope Benedict XVI elevated then-Archbishop John P. Foley to the Cardinalate at a Consistory in Saint Peter’s Basilica on November 24, 2007 and named him Cardinal-Deacon of the Church of San Sebastiano al Palatino in Rome. He was the seventh priest ordained for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to be elevated to the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Foley died on December 11, 2011, and is buried in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

Biographical Information on Mark Abrams
Mark Abrams is a versatile part of the KYW Newsradio family, serving as a reporter, anchor and editor.

A graduate of Kutztown State College, he got his start in the industry in the mid-1970s as a talk-show producer, later serving as a reporter, news anchor, and news director for the former WHUM in Reading, Pa.

He was lured to the print side of the media business in 1981, working for nearly 18 years as a reporter, columnist and desk editor for the Reading Eagle and Reading Times newspapers. He covered a variety of beats and assignments including city and county government and politics, the police desk, transportation, public utilities and state regulatory agencies.

Abrams is a Fellow of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was selected to pursue studies in two important areas: (1) the nuclear industry and the impact of the Three Mile Island accident; and (2) the information superhighway.

Abrams served as an adjunct professor at Temple University for several years where he taught writing for mass media and broadcast newswriting.

Abrams has worked for a two other stations in Philadelphia - WPEN and WIP - serving as a weekend news anchor at both of those stations.

He also is the lead anchor for Berks Community Television coverage of the Berks County primary and general elections shown on Comcast Cable.

In March 2013, Abrams traveled to Rome for KYW Newsradio and provided extensive coverage of the conclave that selected Pope Francis. He also helped coordinate coverage of the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia in September 2015 and broadcast live from the Ben Franklin Parkway the pope's concluding Mass and the Festival of Families as part of the World Meeting of Families.

In April 2005, Abrams also traveled to Rome for KYW Newsradio providing extensive coverage of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI following the death of John Paul II.
And, in 2000, he traveled with archdiocesan pilgrims to Rome for the canonization of Philadelphia’s St. Katharine Drexel for KYW Newsradio.

Abrams is an avid amateur radio operator and Boy Scout leader. He is the proud father of four children and recently welcomed his first grandson.

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