The family of slain photojournalist James Foley received a call from Pope Francis on Thursday. Sunni radicals with the Islamic State group beheaded him on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Vatican said that the family was “deeply moved and grateful,” NBC reported.
When James Foley, a Catholic who attended Marquette University, was captured by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in 2011, he said that prayer helped him through the ordeal.
In a letter he wrote to the university, he explained, “I began to pray the rosary. 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.”
Mr. Foley was released after 44 days but went back into the field and was captured in Syria by Islamic State terrorists on November 22, 2012.
After Mr. Foley’s death was confirmed on Tuesday, his mother released a statement saying, “We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”
Mrs. Foley said in the family’s statement that his kidnappers should free their other hostages.
On Thursday, U.S. officials speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity said that members of the Islamic State wanted $132.5 million in ransom money for the photojournalist’s release.
It is the policy of the United States government not to pay ransom demanded by terrorists.