By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Delaware County native, Cardinal John Patrick Foley has died. He was 76.

Beloved Cardinal John Foley, who served two popes in the Vatican and provided the commentary for Christmas Midnight Mass at the Vatican for 25 years, passed away in his sleep at about 3 a.m. in Villa St. Joseph in Delaware County.

He had been battling Leukemia and Anemia and had been in declining health for the past few months.

READ: Pastoral Letter

Cardinal Foley was summoned to the Vatican by Pope John Paul II to serve as his spokesman. He did so through the Pope’s death and was asked to stay on by John Paul’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

READ: Local Catholics Mourn Cardinal Foley’s Death

Cardinal Foley’s last public broadcast was part of a simulcast on KYW Newsradio and CBS 3. He provided the commentary for the Mass of Beatification for Pope John Paul II, on May 1.

In an interview prior to the Mass, Cardinal Foley spoke of how special it was to be able to that, “I’m certainly glad to be able to do this final service, I guess, to Pope John Paul II. It’s a privilege and a real pleasure to be able to make this commentary on his beatification, when I had the sad duty to do commentary at the moment of his death and burial.”

Last month, on Nov. 18, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia recognized Cardinal Foley as its person of the year. Cardinal Foley offered a videotaped message of thanks, which was played for the assembly of news and media personalities from throughout Philadelphia.

The Cardinal recalled his first TV appearance, “It’s hard to believe that the first time I was ever on television was with Edward R. Murrow in See it Now in 1954. I was a 10-second soundbite, but in ecclesiastical terms, having been on television makes me a relic.”

Cardinal John Foley, former editor of the Catholic Standard and Times, a man who once told me all he wanted to do after his Vatican service was come back to Philadelphia and serve as a simple parish priest. But ill health forced his retirement and now he has been called home.

The following are the funeral arrangements for Cardinal Foley:

All are welcome to participate in any of the events.

Thursday, December 15, 2011
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, Overbrook
100 East Wynnewood Road
Wynnewood, PA 19096 (Montgomery County)

9:00 a.m.: Transfer of the Body in the main lobby of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Reception of the Body followed by Midmorning Prayer in the Chapel of Saint Martin of Tours.

Following Midmorning Prayer Cardinal Foley’s body will lie in state for public viewing in the Chapel of Saint Martin of Tours.

7:00 p.m.: Mass celebrated by Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia. Following Mass the Chapel will be closed.

Friday, December 16, 2011
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

9:15 a.m. (approximately): Funeral motorcade departs Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary en route to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

10:00 a.m.: Reception of the Body in the Cathedral Basilica followed by Midmorning Prayer.

Following Midmorning Prayer Cardinal Foley’s body will lie in state for public viewing in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul until 1:30 p.m.

2:00 p.m.: Solemn Funeral Mass for Cardinal Foley followed by the Rite of Committal in the Cathedral Crypt (located below the main altar).

Top Content On CBSPhilly