Axel Foley remembered in son's #8Masses4no8 campaign

Munster legend Anthony Foley’s son Tony, 11, lit a special candle for his dad yesterday as crowds flocked to churches in response to his campaign to remember departed loved ones.

Axel Foley remembered in son's #8Masses4no8 campaign

The eldest son of the late Munster coach officially kicked off his #8masses4no8 campaign by lighting his own candle with his mother, Olive, after Mass at St Flannan’s Church, Killaloe, on his father’s 43rd birthday.

Tony came up with the campaign idea last weekend following the outpouring of support on his father’s passing on October 16.

The number 8 will, of course, forever be special to the boy and his family as it is synonymous with his late father, who was Munster’s most successful ever No 8.

To honour his father’s memory, Tony asked people to go to Masses yesterday and each of the next seven Sundays to remember their loved ones. At St Flannan’s Church, where the Munster coach’s funeral was also held, Mass attendance more than doubled, with standing room only by the time the Sunday service ended.

Many travelled from a distance and those in attendance included rugby friends of Anthony Foley, among them Marcus Horan and Johnny Lacey.

Fr Paddy McMahon said: “I know many of you may be here today because of young Tony Foley’s invitation, but I would say to you: Don’t come for the eight Sundays, stay coming beyond that. We love to have you here.”

The Foley and Hogan families were overwhelmed by the response. “It’s been incredible,” said a family representative.

“Tony came up with this idea to try and have others included with all those thoughts and prayers for his father, and it has worked.

“We’ve got messages from all over the world over recent days. What has heartened us the most is the number of people who have gone to Masses or dropped into churches to light a candle for their own loved ones, not just Anthony.

“Tony himself is thrilled with the response. None of us could have expected his idea to have caught on like this. And some people who travelled for half an hour or more said they are coming back here again next Sunday.

“Today is a big day for them as it’s Anthony’s birthday. But it has been made easier for them by the response to the campaign.”

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