Pope Sends Letter of Condolence to Family of Journalist James Foley

Message Read Out at Memorial Mass in New Hampshire

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter | 1252 hits

The Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent a message of condolence on behalf of Pope Francis for the family of the U.S. journalist James Foley, brutally executed last week by Islamic State militants. 

Vatican Radio reports that the message was read out Sunday at a memorial Mass for Foley at the family’s Catholic parish, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Rochester, New Hampshire.  The letter, addressed to the Bishop of Rockeville Centre, William Francis Murphy, reads:

“The Holy Father, deeply saddened by the death of James Wright Foley, asks you kindly to convey his personal condolences and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to James’ loved ones.  He commends James to the loving mercy of God our Father, and joins all who mourn him in praying for an end to senseless violence and the dawn of reconciliation and peace among all the members of the human family.  Upon the Foley family, and upon his friends and colleagues, he invokes the consolation and strength borne of our hope in Christ’s Resurrection.”

Pope Francis made a 20 minute private phone call to James’ parents, Diane and John Foley, to personally express his condolences.

Speaking to Vatican Radio yesterday, the Vatican's deputy spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini, said the Pope was "impressed" by the "great faith" shown by James' mother Diane, when Francis spoke with her on the phon. He also was able to speak with James' father John in Spanish, as his father is speaks the language.

"Obviously, the hope of all, the Holy Father and the family is that these tragic events are not repeated," Father Benedettini said. 

Foley, a 40 year old freelance photojournalist, was covering the conflict in Syria when he was abducted two years ago.