ROCHESTER, N.H. (CNS) — Slain journalist James Foley, who sent images and copy from different war zones, was described as living his faith through his work.
The Associated Press reported that at a memorial Mass Aug. 24, Bishop Peter A. Libasci of Manchester, New Hampshire, lauded Foley for bringing important images of war and oppressive regimes to the rest of the world.
Foley was kidnapped in November 2012 while covering the war in Syria. The Islamic State posted a video on the Web Aug. 19 showing him being beheaded, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.
Vatican Radio reported Aug. 25 that the Holy See’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent a condolence message on behalf of Pope Francis to Foley’s family. The message was read by Bishop Libasci at the end of the Mass at the family’s parish, Our Lady of the Rosary.
The AP described the memorial Mass as packed, with people standing three deep in the back and sides of the church.
Bishop Libasci asked the crowd to follow the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
AP said Bishop Libasci observed that Foley went back to covering conflicts in the Middle East after a previous kidnapping in Libya in 2011. He was released after 44 days that time.
“Jim went back again that we might open our eyes,” the bishop said, “that we might indeed know how precious is this gift. May almighty God grant peace to James and to all our fragile world.”
AP said Bishop Libasci urged people not to think of vengeance. “Look at what it’s done already,” he said. “Look at the heartbreak.”
The Foleys plan a funeral for their son on Oct. 18, on what would have been his 41st birthday.
Pope Francis phoned Foley’s family on Aug. 21, engaging in a conversation of longer than 20 minutes with several members of the family, through a translator, and in Spanish with one family member.
Father Paul Gousse, pastor of the family’s parish, Holy Rosary Church in Rochester, New Hampshire, told Catholic News Service in an Aug. 22 phone call that the Foleys told him they were especially struck by the pope’s outreach to them at a time when he is grieving himself. The wife of the pope’s nephew and their two young children were killed in an Aug. 19 car crash in Argentina.
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