Church of the Gesu filled for Foley prayer vigil

CREATED Aug 26, 2014

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MILWAUKEE – Journalist and Marquette University grad James Foley was remembered at a prayer vigil Tuesday evening.

“We know God comforts us tonight as we mourn the tragic death of James Foley,” said Rev. Frederick Zagone, chaplain of the school’s alumni association.

It is estimated that nearly a thousand people filled the pews in Church of the Gesu on campus.

“We at Marquette mourn the loss of our alumnus, friend and extraordinary journalist, James Foley,” said Lori Bergen, dean of the university’s communications college.

Photos around the altar reflected happier times in the wake of Foley’s horrifying execution. 

The most moving words came from Tom Durkin, who offered his thoughts as a letter to his friend in heaven.

“We’re telling stories about you Jimmy.  We’re crying, but we’re also smiling,” Durkin said from the pulpit.  “You made each one of us feel like the most important person in the world when we were with you.  Jimmy man, I miss you.”

The congregation responded to the remarks with a standing ovation.

Those who came to reflect and remember lit candles for peace and healing.

“You hear stories literally from across the world of how he could just relate to people one-on-one and really speak to them,” friend Dan Hanrahan told reporters after the service.

Foley graduate from Marquette in 1996.

“The incredible passion and vision with which he lived his life,” said friend Mike Keating.  “He was that person 20 years ago.  This isn’t something new to us.  Jim Foley was this great person.  We will remember him as that forever.”

Foley’s parents did not attend the service, but a speaker said the family expressed appreciation for all who took part.

A funeral mass for Foley will be held at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire on October 18, according to an online posting.  October 18th is his birthday.  Other events celebrating Foley's life will be held during that weekend.