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We all remember Chris Farley the comedian, but how many of us remember Chris Farley the Catholic?

Close friends and family of the late “Saturday Night Live” star, it turns out.

In an interview with Melissa Silverberg of Daily Herald, one of Farley’s close college friends, Fr. Matt Foley, recalled intimate details about the comedian’s faith and struggle with alcohol addiction.


They met on the rugby field at Marquette University and stayed friends when Fr. Foley entered Mundelien Seminary. They kept in touch after Fr. Foley was ordained and Farley’s acting career began to take off.

When Farley invented his hilarious character, the out of work motivational speaker, he’d often choose the name of a friend in the audience. After Foley was in the audience one night, Farley told him he wanted to keep using his name. The priest was serving in Mexico when Matt Foley the motivational speaker first appeared on TV and he didn’t realize how much of a success the bit was until he tried calling Farley and his friend hung up, thinking it was a prank call.

The next time he called, Foley amended his introduction — “This is Father Matt Foley,” he said — and Farley stayed on the line.

Fr. Foley shared other details about his friend, like how Farley attended daily Mass in college and how the comedian had his friend over to bless his apartment when he moved to New York City. Fr. Foley shared how he helped celebrate big life events such as Farley’s one year of sobriety.

“He was very much aware of his struggle, but I think he was a good Catholic in practice because he recognized God’s saving grace,” Foley said.

Sadly, the priest also celebrated the funeral Mass for his friend after he overdosed in 1997:

“People think about burying a celebrity, but the reality is you’re burying someone’s brother, someone’s friend, someone’s son. That is very painful,” Foley said. “It was a very sad day.”


Fr. Foley was also interviewed for the new documentary, “I Am Chris Farley” which aired on Spike TV last week and is playing in select theaters.

Take a moment to read the whole article and maybe offer up a prayer for Chris Farley, a man who made us laugh all the while struggling with his own darkness.