Vocations Awareness Week: Priest’s calling ‘caught him by surprise’

Father Scott Foley talks about vocations during Vocations Awareness Week, which concludes Nov. 7. He is a parochial vicar at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Father Scott Foley had not planned on a call to the priesthood. “But the call came all the same,” said the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Victory Parish.

He said his inspiration came from reading “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort and the “Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul,” as well as praying the rosary and participating in eucharistic adoration.

Although he might not have planned on a calling, his love for the church and his Catholic faith began early in life. In an interview with The Catholic Messenger, after her son was ordained a deacon, Dianne Foley recalled that he began wearing a religious medal after making his first Communion and continued to do so growing up. His family belongs to St. Mary Parish in Williams-burg where the future priest was an altar server.


Father Foley pursued other interests before discerning his vocation to the priesthood. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a BSE degree in civil engineering and a minor in business. He once worked for Frito Lay where as part of his job he was “paid to eat chips.” After college, he worked as an engineer.

When he shared his thoughts about a possible call to the priesthood, “it caught him by surprise,” Dianne Foley said in the earlier interview. “God is good and over a period of time with prayer and the help of spiritual direction, it led to seminary.”

His parents and other family members were very supportive of his decision to enter the seminary, Father Foley said. He felt confirmation of that calling while on pilgrimage after his first year at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before that, he thought God was giving him the opportunity to choose a vocation to marriage or to the priesthood. “During vespers one night on pilgrimage, the verse about Melchizedek appeared. That’s the moment I knew.’” It was the strong consolation he needed to continue his journey to the priesthood, he said.

He completed theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. In 2018, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo ordained him a deacon in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Bishop Thomas Zinkula ordained Father Foley to the priesthood in 2019 in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

Now 36, Father Foley described the biggest surprise for him about the priesthood: “God’s grace is powerful. The grace of ordination is powerful. Sometimes I wonder aloud when I notice God palpably working in everyday ministry. ‘Where did that come from? That good thing sure didn’t come from me.’”

He said a number of people have influenced his life. “Religious sisters, especially from the Missionaries of Charity, the Servidoras, Dominicans, and Sisters of Mercy (Krakow). They have been good friends, and have taught me a lot. Also, there has been multiple diocesan priests who have been influential.”

As for hobbies when he wants to wind down and relax, Father Foley said he likes sports, woodworking, being outdoors, spending time with friends, Marian devotions and engineering activities.

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