No White House representatives were present at the memorial mass held for James Foley on Sunday, although the president did send three to Michael Brown’s funeral, CNS News reports.
Foley, 40, was beheaded in a video released by the radical Islamist group ISIS last week. He had been in captivity since November 2012, when he was captured in Syria while reporting for international news service GlobalPost. (RELATED: We May Soon Know The Identity Of The Man Who Beheaded James Foley)
Pope Francis called Foley’s parents days after his murder was made public, and sent a letter that was read aloud at the mass, held at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Rochester, N.H., Foley’s hometown.
“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,” the letter read. “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.”
Foley was a Roman Catholic, and had written about the solace he found in praying the rosary the first time he had been taken captive.
“I began to pray the rosary,” he wrote in 2011, after his release. “It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.”
Attendees at the memorial mass — not to be confused with a funeral mass, which won’t be held until October — included New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, fellow Catholic Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Ann Kuster.
White House representatives sent to Michael Brown’s funeral Monday included Broderick Johnson, chairman of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force; Marlon Marshall, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (and high school classmate of Brown’s mother); and Heather Foster, adviser to the Office of Public Engagement.