By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For many, Cardinal Foley, who died on Sunday, was known as the voice of Christmas Midnight Mass at the Vatican, but in the world of broadcasting, his influence goes much further than that.

Just last month, Cardinal Foley was honored by the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia as the organization’s “2011 Person of the Year”.

“God has been very good to me in communications,” Foley said in his acceptance speech. “I’m very proud to come from Philadelphia, I’m very proud to have started my communications life in Philadelphia.”

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Part of that work was hosting a religious TV show on Channel 3, called “Debate.” “It came on at noon every Sunday, and it followed “Bertie the Bunion” a program for children about a mythical Australian creature. I’ve met many people who remember Bertie the Bunion, but unfortunately, I’ve met no one who remembers ‘Debate’.”

Among those recognizing Cardinal Foley, Luke Russert, son of late broadcaster Tim Russert. He says, in 1985, Cardinal Foley was able to open the doors of the Vatican, giving unprecedented access to broadcast news.

“Cardinal Foley realized what it was to be a great communicator,” Russert says. “He realized how important it would be for the Pope to appear on the Today show.”

Former Today Show host, Bryant Gumbel, credits Cardinal Foley with opening the doors of the Vatican, when the Cardinal helped set up a week of programming with an historic look into inner workings of the Vatican.

“Back in 1985, with Cardinal Foley’s help, we at NBC managed to create the ultimate promo, when we taped his holiness, Pope John Paul II, saying how enthused he was about our upcoming week of Today telecasts from the Vatican.”

Pope Benedict XVI today sent a telegram to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput expressing his condolences, saying he hopes Cardinal Foley’s commitment to the church’s presence in the media will inspire others.

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).

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