Photo by Xidan Zhang via the Marquette Tribune.
The Marquette University community gathered to remember alumnus and slain journalist James Foley at a vigil yesterday at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee. Foley, a 1996 graduate, was working as a war correspondent when he was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 and then killed by Islamic State militants last week.
Political and religious leaders around the world expressed their shock and heartbreak over Foley’s murder, including President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, who personally called the Foley family to console them. John Foley, James’ father, said on the “Today” show that “we felt very comforted and supported” that the pope offered his personal prayer.
Tuesday’s vigil began with Marquette President Michael Lovell telling the crowd of more than 300 people that Foley “embodied social justice,” and that he was “extremely proud” to see how Foley represented the school.
Foley, who had been kidnapped previously in Libya in 2011, was described as living his faith through his work. After his time in captivity in Libya, Foley expressed in a letter to the Marquette community the power and strength he drew not only from his own prayer, but also from the prayers of his family and friends.
“If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did,” Foley wrote.
The university community will remember Foley’s life through the James Foley Scholarship Fund and through prayer. Jesuit Father Frederick Zagone, chaplain of the Marquette University Alumni Association, wrote, “Our prayers continue now that James’ life has been so tragically taken. We pray not only for James, but for the causes he fought so hard to bring forward in the world’s awareness. We pray for others held captive. We pray for peace in our world.”
Prayer for James Foley by Fr. Zagone
Saints of God, come to his aid!
Hasten to meet him angels of the Lord!
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed
through the mercy of God rest in peace.