He was ordained in 1989 and spent five years at a parish on Chicago's west side and then six years in Mexico. He returned to the west side of Chicago in 2000 where, in 2006, he presided over the funeral of Pfc. Daniel Zizumbo, a soldier killed by a makeshift bomb in Afghanistan whose parents were Foley's parishioners.But the story gets even better.
Zizumbo's death was motivational for Foley, whose brother and college roommate served in the Army and whose uncle was an Army chaplain in Vietnam. On the second anniversary of Zizumbo's death, Feb. 27, 2008, Foley was sworn in as an Army officer by his brother Michael, a lieutenant colonel.
"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.
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.In honor of Fr. Foley, I give you...
When Farley died in 1997, Foley flew up from Mexico to preside over his funeral and has since officiated at the weddings of two of Farley's siblings.