Upon learning about the murder of American journalist James Foley at the hands of the militant Islamic State, Pope Francis sent a letter to the Foley family expressing his deepest condolences.
He also personally called them at their New Hampshire home, speaking for twenty minutes through a translator. The call was described by a Vatican spokesman as "very long and intense," with Foley's parents saying that they drew "huge comfort" from their conversation.
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin sent the letter on behalf of Pope Francis on August 21.
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 the 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.
Bishop Peter Libasci officiated a Mass in honor of Foley in the family's hometown of Rochester, New Hampshire. He said that even after Foley's first capture in Libya in 2011, he "went back again that we might open our eyes." Libasci read Pope Francis' letter out loud at the mass.
"Thank you for loving Jim," his mother Diane said to the crowd after Mass.