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Bishop: Slain US journalist Foley opened our eyes



BY JEFF MCMENEMY

ROCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Slain U.S. journalist James Foley was living his faith by bringing images to the world of people suffering from war and oppressive regimes, a Roman Catholic bishop said Sunday at a Mass in his honor.

Bishop Peter Libasci said even after Foley was captured for the first time in Libya in 2011, he "went back again that we might open our eyes."

Foley's Family Releases Memorized Letter From Captivity

The Mass was attended by Foley's parents, John and Diane Foley, and hundreds of others in their hometown of Rochester, New Hampshire. Afterward, Libasci read aloud a letter from the Vatican extending the condolences of Pope Francis.

"Thank you for loving Jim," Diane Foley told the crowd after the Mass.

The crowd filled every pew and people stood three deep at the back of the church and along both sides of it. Gov. Maggie Hassan, along with U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, attended the Mass.

Foley was kidnapped on Thanksgiving Day 2012 while covering the Syrian uprising. The Islamic State group posted a Web video Tuesday showing his killing and said it was in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.

Libasci invoked the prayer of St. Francis, which begins, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace," to implore the gathered not to hate but to heal.

"It is in giving that we receive," he recited. "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. To these words, I think we can say, `Yes, I wish we could do that.' It is not beyond our capability. It is not impossible. Our Lord lived it. Our most Blessed Mother lived it. Many saints have lived it. James lived it."

In a packed Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church, the bishop frequently addressed Foley's parents and stressed their son's connection to family. He also prayed for another captive journalist, Steven Sotloff, and all captives.

"Jim went back again that we might open our eyes," Libasci said. "That we might indeed know how precious is this gift. May almighty God grant peace to James and to all our fragile world."

Libasci said after the Mass that people shouldn't think of vengeance.

"Look at what it's done already," he said. "Look at the heartbreak."

A funeral for Foley will be Oct. 18, what would have been his 41st birthday.

Foley's parents on Sunday released a letter that they say their son wrote while in captivity, which he asked an unidentified fellow hostage who was about to be freed to memorize and recount to his family so the letter would not be confiscated by his captors.

In the letter, posted on a Facebook page called "Find James Foley," Foley described being held with 17 other hostages and passing time by discussing movies, sports and trivia and playing games made up of scraps found in their jail cell. He said the hostages were fed daily and given tea and occasionally coffee.

last letter from foley to family

Also Sunday, the U.S. government said Peter Theo Curtis of Massachusetts, a journalist who was held hostage for about two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria, was released. White House national security adviser Susan Rice said Curtis, who wrote under the byline Theo Padnos, is now safe outside of Syria.

At a vigil Saturday night in Rochester, about 200 people gathered to show support for the Foley family.

"We are honored that you care and love Jim. We are honored that you recognized the sacrifices he made," John Foley said then. "He loved the Syrian people. He was devoted to telling their story and doing whatever he could to help their fight."

Speakers praised Foley's determination to report on the Syrian people uprooted by conflict.

"Tonight we want to honor freedom and love: the freedom that James so vehemently believed that all people deserved," said Nadia Alawa, founder of NuDay Syria, a Massachusetts-based organization working to ease the pain and loss in Syria.

The world's largest bloc of Islamic nations denounced Foley's "heinous" killing and reiterated its support for international efforts to confront the Islamic State fighters.

Iyad Madani, chief of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said in a statement Saturday that the actions of the Islamic State group have nothing to do with the values of Islam or his organization's founding principles of tolerance and co-existence.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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frankiegallo33 August 25 2014 at 6:20 AM

Obama sent no one but he is sending 3 people for the WH to Ferguson Mo. for Brown, a Robbery suspect who shattered a Cops face. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmm

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12 replies
wmcbhere August 25 2014 at 7:03 AM

if Mr. Foley had been a African-American the ransom would of been paid

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17 replies
wbearl August 25 2014 at 9:12 AM

Question! Is Obama at least going to send representatives from the White House to any memorial service held for this man. I realize the man isn't Black and wasn't a Muslim, but he at least deserves the same respect and consideration as a criminal in Ferguson.

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16 replies
gumbiee49 August 25 2014 at 7:21 AM

So sad the attempt to rescue Foley was shot delayed by Obama. Guess golf was more important to him. The jerk continues to show he has no business being President.

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9 replies
jsinvent August 25 2014 at 6:52 AM

The Muslims are in a Holy War against Christians, Jews and non-believers. Obama is at war with the Tea Party, WE THE PEOPLE and the US Constitution. Fort Hood was called a work place violence and not a Muslim Terrorist attack and Benghazi was cause by a Movie according to Obama. Non of his actions from closing down a terrorist Gitmo to turing over Terrorist over to the Justice Department makes my Family and friends feel safe with Obama and Holder in charge, we just don't trust them to kill the killers jail time and attorneys is not the answer its Generals and bombs. They are either not up to the task or not fit for the task.

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4 replies
Jillan Green August 25 2014 at 6:26 AM

My deepest Sympathy to the family I am so sorry for your loss it broke my heart. Mr. President get off your duff and do something. They were held captive since 2012. But send people to WH. Help our Americans that you keep sending to help people who don't want us there. Let ISRAEL do their job.

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7 replies
debnaert August 25 2014 at 10:54 AM

NOW THIS WAS A GOOD MAN! Someone to look up to... I will pray for his soul and his family that they might grow stronger every day remembering their son as a "REAL MAN" a good man.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
keithj77441 August 25 2014 at 6:19 AM

SO. LIE-berals-- tell us all how pulling out of Iran and pulling out of Afghanistan (in process) and apologizing did ONE THING for Foley........................crickets.

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11 replies
quarterz25 August 25 2014 at 6:42 AM

I am no obozo supporter but why should we respond for some idiot that put himself in danger and got killed? This moron figured he could go to Syria(in the middle of their war) make tons of money then go home? Did he think he was superman? Maybe they wouldn't know he was a non muslim American and would leave him alone. I would feel worse if troops had lost their lives trying to rescue this idiot from his own stupidity.

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15 replies
Gina August 25 2014 at 11:51 AM

There is no satisfying you people is there. This young man knew what he was getting himself into; he knew the dangers he was going to face and still went. Unfortunately the attempt to rescue him failed because the little informants we had there give us the wrong information. It was not like when we had our military there that we were able to rescue our fellow Americans. STOP trying to make this a race thing for the love of God! God bless this young man and his family, lets pray for them and stop looking for a reason to blame the President or make this a race thing!

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2 replies
Youre so cute Gina August 25 2014 at 3:07 PM

You people? Sounds like you take the comments too personally and feel it necessary to address anyone who disagrees with you as ignorant. True intelligence comes from the ability to state your opinion without making negative presumptive statements against anyone who does not agree.

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songbirdgray Gina August 25 2014 at 4:56 PM

THIS MISSOURI THING IS ABOUT RACE AND WE ALL KNOW IT , THE YOUNG MAN , FOLEY IS NOT TO BLAME FOR BEING KIDNAPPED BY EVIL BARBARIANS, HE WAS DOING A JOB, BUT THERE WAS NOT THE ATTENTION GIVEN TO THIS AND MORE TO THE KILLING OF A THIEF, WHETHER JUSTIFIED OR NOT WE DO NOT KNOW , THAN TO THIS MANS HORRIFIC DEATH!

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