Cardinal John P. Foley

Best known as the English language commentator for the Pope’s Midnight Christmas Mass and other major papal liturgies, Cardinal John Patrick Foley, Grand Master Emeritus of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and former President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, died on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at Villa Saint Joseph in Darby, Pennsylvania. Cardinal Foley was 76 years old.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Foley was a graduate of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and St. Joseph’s College (now University). He was ordained a priest on May 19, 1962 by then-Archbishop John Krol.

John P. Foley, circa 1964

His earliest assignments were Sacred Heart in Havertown and St. John the Evangelist Parish in Philadelphia, and also studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome where he earned his licentiate and doctorate in philosophy. He taught for a year at Cardinal Dougherty High School, and from 1967 to 1984 he served on the adjunct faculty of St. Charles Seminary teaching ethics and metaphysics.

In 1970, Foley became editor of the official diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times. During the decade previous he had served as assistant editor and Vatican correspondent for the newspaper, and received his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

circa 1975

He maintained his position as editor for the next 14 years, a period which saw some of the most important events in the history of the Philadelphia Church, including the Forty-First International Eucharistic Congress, held in 1976, the canonization of St. John Neumann in 1977 and the visit to Philadelphia of Pope John Paul II in 1978.

From 1966 until 1974 Foley was also co-producer and co-host of Philadelphia Catholic Hour on radio station WFIL.

On April 9, 1984 Pope John Paul II named him an Archbishop and appointed him head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications, a position he held for more than 23 years. Foley was elevated to the College of Cardinals on November 24, 2007.


Celebrating Foley's appointment as Archbisop, 1984

For more information on Cardinal Foley see the Archdiocese of Philadelphia website.

Photos of the Cardinal are from of the Halvey Photo Collection.


Digitizing the Halvey Photograph Collection, Step One

As a volunteer at PAHRC, I’ve been most excited about beginning the process of reformatting the Robert and Teresa Halvey Photograph Collection. Currently in the inventory cataloging stages, the ultimate goal is to digitize the entire collection and make the images available online.

For over sixty years, Robert Halvey served as a freelance photographer for the Catholic Standard and Times, often as a volunteer.  His career as a photographer began in the 1930’s, taking photos for the Roman Catholic High School newspaper and neighborhood newspaper The Kensington Critic. He was then a U.S. Army photographer during World War II, for which he received a Legion of Merit, and later a staff photographer for Pennsylvania Hospital.

Halvey's award winning photo of Mother Teresa at Philadelphia’s Eucharistic Congress, 1976

Having never discarded a photo, the collection contains negatives from the entirety of Halvey’s career, from 1935 to 1999. These images capture presidents, popes, entertainers, as well as everyday participants in Philadelphia Catholic life. In addition to photos taken for The Catholic Standard and Times there are photos taken for organizations and schools such as Immaculata College, and local events such as St. Patrick’s Day parades. Halvey once said, “I think many of my pictures will last long after I’m gone,” and PAHRC intends to digitize the negatives to fulfill this prediction.

 Clan-na-Gael at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, 1957

Luciano Pavarotti and the late Cardinal Bevilacqua, 1989

Young girl with The Catholic Standard and Times, 1958

The collection currently consists of 39 archival boxes filled with envelopes of negatives. The various types of negatives in the collection demonstrate how the photographic process evolved throughout Halvey’s career.  With the exception of several early glass negatives, the collection contains primarily cellulose acetate film, or safety film.  These negatives are in 4×5 single sheets and 3×5 35mm or 7.5×1.5 70mm strips. Safety film is named for its inflammability, but is nonetheless unstable and subject to deterioration.  This makes reformatting the images crucial to their preservation.

The first step in preparing the photographic negatives for digitization was getting an estimate of the number of images, or negatives, in the collection. Due to the large size of the collection, another volunteer, Gillian Grady, and I used sampling to accomplish this task. After counting the number of envelopes in each box, we counted the number of negatives in a sample population of envelopes, as each envelope contains a sometimes vastly different number of negatives. Based on the results, we can reasonably estimate that the collection has approximately 350,000 negatives.

Our next step is to begin cataloging the images using Past Perfect. Stay tuned for more blog posts about this project!


Baldwin, Lou. “Today’s Picture – Tomorrow’s History.” The Catholic Standard and Times [Philadelphia] 5 Feb. 2004: 3, 29.

Valverde, Maria F. Photographic Negatives: Nature and Evolution of Processes. Rochester: Image Permanence Institute, 2004.

The Immaculata Mighty Macs

As a volunteer at PAHRC, I have spent a lot of time cataloging and doing inventory for various collections, one of which is the Robert and Teresa Halvey Photograph Collection, which we hope to digitize soon.  Among these photographs, I’ve come across many images of sporting events and teams, including photographs of the “Mighty Macs.”

March is a month of basketball, when the NCAA championship tournament takes over sports pages and airwaves. But March is also Women’s History Month and at the intersection of these two things, we find Immaculata University, home of the “Mighty Macs.”

Forty years ago this month, the women’s basketball team of Immaculata College, as it was known then, won the first women’s national basketball championship and won it again in 1973 and 1974.  This team from a small, Catholic women’s college outside Philadelphia garnered national recognition for women’s basketball and women’s collegiate sports.  The team is still garnering national attention with the 2011 release of the film, The Mighty Macs.

Women had been playing collegiate basketball since 1893 but it was only in 1971 that a full court, five player game was officially adopted.  Now men and women were recognizably playing the same sport.  Immaculata still preserved some of the more modest aspects of early women’s basketball.  Their players wore skirts on the court until the 1974-1975 season.  But these women still played aggressively and intensely – running, jumping, and reveling in the opportunity to play hard.

Immaculata vs. West Chester, 1974

The 1972 championship team just barely made it into the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) tournament that year. (The NCAA Women’s Division Championship was not inaugurated until the 1981-82 season.) Though the team had a 24-1 record under coach Cathy Rush that year, most people thought the tiny women’s college couldn’t compete at the national level.  But at the tournament in Normal, Illinois, the team won game after game and finally defeated their rival West Chester State (the school that had handed them their single defeat that season) in the championship game with a score of 52-48.

Coach Cathy Rush, 1974

The following year, the Mighty Macs repeated their success but with a much bigger audience.  Local sports writers covered the games and the entire Immaculata College community supported the team, including the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who had founded the school.

Immaculata vs. Stroudsburg State, 1974

In the 1973-74 regular season, the Mighty Macs were nationally recognized and their games were major sporting events.  They played the first nationally televised women’s basketball game against the University of Maryland.  The team played Queen’s College in the first women’s game in Madison Square Garden. The Macs boasted a 35-game win streak that year and a third national championship.

Immaculata vs. Stroudbsurg State, 30th victory, 1974

The Immaculata team was welcomed at Philadelphia International Airport by a crowd of their supporters.  Family, friends, and supporters of the Immaculata community all turned out.

Returning to Philadelphia after the team's third straight championship, 1974

The team went on to place second in the AIAW tournament for the next two years and made it to the semifinals in 1977.  Cathy Rush retired from coaching that year and Immaculata’s dominance of women’s basketball waned as public universities, with more money for recruitment and scholarships, began to take over.  The passage of Title IX in 1972 allowed more women than ever to play sports but shifted the spotlight away from the small women’s college in Chester County.  Nevertheless, the women of Immaculata College, both the basketball team and their supporters, proved to the nation that women could play basketball and play it well.

The photographs shown here are from PAHRC’s Robert and Teresa Halvey Photograph Collection.


Byrne, Julie. O God of Players. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
“Remember the Glory Days!, Program for the 25th Anniversary of First National Women’s Collegiate Basketball Championship won by the Mighty Macs of Immaculata College”. Immaculata, PA: Immaculata College, 1997.