06/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tim Russert's Italy Family Photo: Inside His Last Vacation

Tim Russert's sudden death came as a shock to friends worldwide - none more than Cardinal John Patrick Foley, who spent time with him during the 58-year-old newsman's recent Italian vacation.

"He was in good form and happy to be spending time with his wife and son," the Cardinal (who met up with the Russert clan in Rome) tells PEOPLE. The Meet the Press host and his wife, Vanity Fair journalist Maureen Orth, were celebrating son Luke's recent graduation from Boston College.

Foley - who has known the devout-Catholic Russert for 24 years and even baptized Luke - accompanied the trio to Saint Peter's Square, where they had front-row seats for an audience with the Pope.

Read more on People