The pope sent no formal, written message to Foley’s installation in Atlanta, but he offered his personal greetings, according to the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.
During the installation service, Venables recalled recovering from a severe illness — “lying there wondering if I ever wanted to be alive again” — earlier this year when the phone rang. The pope has a habit of calling people out of the blue, and the voice on the other end of the line introduced himself as Francis.
“‘Francis who?’ He said, with a wonderful degree of humility and patience … ‘No, it’s Father Jorge,’” Venables recalled.
Venables, the former Anglican leader for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, described his role as a messenger from Pope Francis.
“He asked me this evening, in fact he wrote to me just a few days ago and said, ‘When you go to the United States please, in my name, give my personal congratulations and greetings to Archbishop Foley. And assure him of my prayers and support at this moment and in the future as he leads the church at this very important moment of revival and mission.’”
Asking Foley to step forward for a traditional Argentine blessing, Venables kissed him twice on the forehead before hugging him.
“This is a celebration of true Anglicanism,” Venables said. “This evening meeting in this place is the majority of the Anglican Communion, this evening here the majority of the Anglican Communion is represented because the vast majority in the Anglican Communion believe that the word of God is true, believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and believe that he is our only hope as we move forward.”