Anthony Foley's family 'overwhelmed' by response to #8masses4no8 Facebook campaign
Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has heaped praise on Anthony Foley's 11-year-old son Tony for his campaign of remembrance aimed at getting people to honour their lost loved ones.
The #8masses4no8 Facebook campaign was launched yesterday by Tony and his family, urging people to attend Sunday mass for the next eight weeks and post photos of lit candles remembering both his father and others who have left us.
Speaking today, Bishop Leahy endorsed the idea, calling it a 'powerful movement'.
“This is both moving and inspirational," Leahy said in a statement.
"The Foley and Hogan families have found themselves in one of the worst places imaginable. But yet this young man has been moved by the support they have received to, in turn, think of others.
“Like everyone, I was very struck last week by his mother Olive’s strength in the face of this tragedy, not least in her eulogy at the Funeral Mass on Saturday. She is clearly a woman of deep faith and it will help her through this very difficult time. That faith is clearly passing off onto her sons.
“The beauty of this Facebook campaign is the courage that the family is showing in acknowledging they are not on their own, that there are many, many like them who have lost loved ones also."
Tony Foley was inspired to come up with the idea after seeing the loving send off given to his father at Thomond Park last Saturday during Munster's win over Glasgow.
"The latest post on the Axel Foley Memorial page reads: "We’ve been overwhelmed by people committing to the campaign - to attend Mass over the eight Sundays and/or light candles for their own loved ones. We’re particularly humbled by those who will be including Anthony in their prayers as they remember their own loved ones who have passed. That is, indeed, a great privilege.
"We’ve had messages of support for this campaign from here in Killaloe, from Limerick, from across Munster, Australia, New Zealand, France, the UK, missionaries in Africa, the Far East. We’ve had messages from school students, from teachers, from rugby fans and players. We’ve been delighted with the support coming from other faiths, including Buddhism, Church of Ireland, Islam, etc.
"We’ve had people tell us of how Tony’s campaign has brought them to, and remember, loved ones long since passed. That has particularly heartened us.
"We have been, again, so taken by all the tributes to Anthony.
"We want to use this opportunity to not alone say thank-you for this amazing response but to remind one and all of Tony’s ask – for people to go to Mass and/or light a candle to remember a loved one on each of the next 8 Sundays (all the better if you remember his Dad in doing so).
"Please, please send us in images of your candle when you light it, as we want this page to burn bright in memory of your loved ones as well as Anthony.
"As for Tony himself, he has a simple message today: “Thank you for your support”. He’s being kept up to date on progress and is really delighted by your response.
"He has received so many messages and images that it is impossible to respond to all individually but he is so grateful for every single gesture. All are equally appreciated but allow us to post the first ‘candle’ image today. We had intended not posting any image until next Sunday, Anthony’s birthday, but felt this image, which we received today from 6th year students at Beneavin College in Finglas, captures everything this campaign is about – remembering others who have gone and, indeed, Anthony Axel Foley."