Almanac Editors, Past and Present
In Remembrance: Fr. Felician Foy, O.F.M.
Fr. Felician Foy, O.F.M., 83, longtime editor of Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac, passed away on February 21, 2002, from complications of heart surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Patterson, N.J. Fr. Foy served as editor from 1952-98. Throughout his 45-year tenure as editor, he was assisted by Miss Rose Avato (1927-97). He also served as special consultant to the Almanac from 1999-2002.
Born on June 7, 1918, in Philadelphia, Foy was professed into the Franciscans on August 13, 1942, and was ordained on June 14, 1947. He then taught high school for several years until his unexpected appointment as editor of the Almanac. He assumed direction of the publication that had been founded in 1904 and that was then published by the St. Anthony Guild. With the assistance of Rose Avato, Foy helped to develop much of the Almanac’s current format, organizing its trademark section on Catholic teaching and practice. In 1971 he brought the publication to Our Sunday Visitor where he oversaw its entry into the digital age in 1991.
In 1996, he and Rose received a commendation by the Catholic Press Association for their decades of service. Two years later, Foy was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal for his contributions to the life of the Church. Rose died in her sleep on October 20, 1997 after she had just completed the final corrections for the 1998 edition of the Almanac. She had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, since 1995, yet did not let the disease interfere with her work. Foy stepped down as general editor starting with the 2000 edition, although he remained actively involved with the Almanac until his death.
While the Almanac demanded much of Foy’s time, he remained always first and foremost a Franciscan. His ministry included prison visits, direction of Third Order Franciscans, outreach programs for the growing Latino population in New Jersey, and chaplain work at St. Joseph’s Hospital. In order to serve the Spanish-speaking people of the diocese of Patterson, Foy taught himself Spanish. He was also an accomplished guitar player. According to Fr. Ronald Pecci, O.F.M., guardian of St. Anne Church in Fair Lawn, N.J., Foy "was always a Franciscan and relished priestly work."
His funeral was held on Monday, Feb. 25, 2002, at St. Bonaventure’s Church, in Patterson, N.J.
Special Tribute From the 1998 Edition to Rose Avato, 1925-1997
Rose Avato, co-editor of the Catholic Almanac with Father Felician Foy, had just completed her work on the 1998 edition of the Almanac when she died in her sleep on October 20, 1997. Rose had been an integral part of the Catholic Almanac since 1952. Her dedication and hard work for 45 years were indispensable in creating the Almanac, and she is sorely missed.
The 1998 edition of the Catholic Almanac is dedicated to the memory of Rose Avato.
Special Dedication to the 1999 Edition to
Father Felician Foy, O.F.M.
Father Felician Foy, O.F.M., has been a pillar of the Catholic Almanac for almost half a century. With Rose Avato, he began compiling and editing the Catholic Almanac in 1952. Working out of the New Jersey office, they were responsible for assembling the treasure trove of data found in every one of the last 46 volumes of the Catholic Almanac.
As editor, Father Foy helped to develop its current format, pulling together its trademark section on Catholic teaching and practice. He also wrote the special reports and news briefs that make each volume indispensable to journalists, educators, researchers and educated Catholics.
Father Foy shepherded the Catholic Almanac through many changes in the publishing business. In 1971 he brought the publication to Our Sunday Visitor, where he has since overseen its entry into the digital age.
His colleague and collaborator, Miss Rose Avato, compiled the annual listings and institutional updates as well as the Index-- a monumental task demanding attention to detail and scrupulous perfectionism. In 1996 their efforts on behalf of the Catholic Almanac were noted in a commendation by the Catholic Press Association.
Miss Avato died last year (1997), shortly after completing work in the 1998 edition. She had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, since 1995, yet did not let the disease interfere with her work.
throughout their years of service, Miss Avato and Father Foy were models of Christian dedication, diligence and generosity. In a very real sense this book is a monument to them and their years of hard work on behalf of their readers and the Catholic Church.
This past year, Father Foy worked with Matthew Bunson to produce the 1999 Catholic Almanac. Next year, Matthew will be its editor, but Father Foy will continue to be a trusted advisor and a guiding light, as well as contributor.
Our Sunday Visitor is dedicating the 1999 edition of Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Almanac to Father Felician Foy, and to the memory of Rose Avato. We are deeply grateful for their hard work and dedication, and we pray for the grace to be good stewards of their legacy.
Robert P. Lockwood
President, Our Sunday Visitor
October 6, 1998
About the Editor: Matthew Bunson, D. Min.
A writer for over 15 years, Matthew Bunson, D. Min., was born in Germany and grew up in Hawaii. He is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic History, John Paul II’s Book of Saints, Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, Papal Wisdom, and many others. In addition to delivering lectures on a variety of topics related to his books, Matthew has appeared on numerous radio and television programs.
Email Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to order