CONCORD, N.H. — From New Hampshire to France and beyond, supporters of a journalist who disappeared in Syria more than seven months ago held a global moment of silence today to pray for his safe return.
James Foley was last seen Nov. 22 in northwest Syria. He was contributing videos to Agence France-Press for the media company GlobalPost, which has said he likely was abducted by a pro-Syrian government military group. Investigators say they believe Foley, 39, is being held with one or more Western journalists in a detention facility near Damascus.
Foley’s family in Rochester asked supporters to take a moment at 3 p.m. to pray that he is still alive and has the strength to survive, that the people of Syria help find him and that those holding him will be merciful and compassionate. They chose today for the prayer vigil because Foley was named for St. James, one of the 12 apostles, whose feast day is July 25.
“We just want people who care to take a moment to remember that James is missing, and others,” said Foley’s mother, Diane Foley. “We just want to lift him up in prayer and have people just remember him in their own way. We know he needs the prayers for his own strength.”
She and about 100 others participated in the prayer vigil and moment of silence for him at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Rochester. She said a priest in France planned a special Mass and people from Ireland and several other countries contacted the family to say they would join in. She said his friends in New York, Chicago and the Middle East also planned to participate.
In 2011, James Foley was held by government forces in Libya while covering that country’s civil war. He was released after six weeks.
Last month, U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire, wrote a letter urging the Department of State to use every means available to find Foley and other missing journalists.