Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Funeral Rites for Fr. Alexis Foyo, O.S.B.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him!

Night Prayer on the Eve of Burial
7 P.M., Monday, December 13, 2010
at Prince of Peace Abbey

Funeral Mass and Burial
11 A.M., Tuesday, December 14, 2010
at Prince of Peace Abbey

On November 24, 2010, just past midnight, our fellow monk, Fr. Alexis Foyo, O.S.B., passed to eternal life. He was in a hospital near his family in Florida, having suffered for quite some time from frontal temporal dementia, a disease that deteriorates random parts of the brain. Furthermore he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which rendered him increasingly immobile. He was 59 years old, having been a monk for 27 years and a priest for 22 years.

Alex Foyo was born on July 10, 1951, in La Habana, Cuba, to the Catholic family of Dr. Guillermo Carlos Foyo Facciolo and his wife, Amelia Antonia Trigo Llanes Foyo. He was the third child, having two older sisters. Alex was educated by the Marist brothers until about the age of 10, when in 1961 the family was forced to flee to the United States shortly after the takeover of Fidel Castro. This was a traumatic experience which affected him greatly. He finished High School at Boston Technical School, Massachusetts. Alex joined St. Leo Abbey in St. Leo, Florida, in 1976, under the leadership of Abbot Fidelis Dunlap, O.S.B., and upon entering the novitiate took the name Alexis. He was both monastic librarian and infirmarian from 1978 to 1979. Then he became Assistant Archivist from 1979 to 1980.

After graduating from St. Anselm Abbey College in Manchester New Hampshire, he went on to study for the priesthood at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was ordained to the deaconate in 1982 and then to the priesthood in 1983 by Bishop Keith Simmons for St. Leo Abbey. Fr. Alexis served as assistant formation director of St. Leo Abbey from 1983 to 1984, until he became assistant pastor at St. Augustine Church in the Miami Archdiocese until 1990.

Fr. Alexis transferred to Peace Abbey on May 18, 1992. He served as formation director from 1994-1997, and then went to Mount Savior Monastery in Pine City, New York, where he helped with pastoral duties and spiritual direction for the sisters in a nearby convent. Upon his return to Prince of Peace Abbey in 2002, he worked on the Retreat, Development and Day of Recollection Committees. From 2003 to 2007, he was in charge of Mass intentions. Fr Alexis became the Assistant Oblate Director under Abbot Claude from 2004 to 2005, and then became Oblate Director from 2005 to 2007 with Abbot Claude assisting him.

Three years ago, he began to show signs of the disease that would eventually take his life. Not understanding what was happening inside him, he would approach many persons with the request to pray for him.

Fr. Alexis was very willing to help anyone who needed his assistance. He was a much sought-after counselor to the Hispanic community that greatly appreciated his ability to speak Spanish. He also helped at local parishes with Mass and confessions. Many Oblates remember him as a compassionate and gentle person who related very well to the persons with whom he communicated.

When news of his death reached us early on November 24, the monks prayed the Office of the Dead for Fr. Alexis at all of that day’s liturgical hours. The wake is planned for 7:00 PM on Monday, December 13, and the Funeral Mass and Burial for Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM. He is survived by two sisters, Sonia Collazo of Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Tania Fernandez of Miami, Florida, as well as several nephews and nieces.