US colleges remember James Foley

Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States are remembering James Foley and his family this weekend: today (Saturday 18 October) would have been his 41st birthday. Foley was an American journalist and video reporter who was abducted in 2012 while working as a freelance war correspondent during the Syrian Civil War. An alumnus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was beheaded in August 2014, becoming the first American citizen killed by IS (Islamic State).

The death of James Foley two months ago was a tragedy felt across the world, especially to members of the Jesuit network in the United States. Fr Michael J. Sheeran SJ, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) said: "Earlier this month, we invited our 28 member institutions to offer a Mass or inter-faith prayer service for peace in honour of James Foley's contributions toward justice and freedom of the press, and in memory of all others who have died this year at the hands of ISIS. With the support of the AJCU Board of Directors and James' alma mater, Marquette University, we are proud to lead this initiative that unites our Jesuit colleges and universities in solidarity, and honours the memory of a Jesuit alumnus who was a true man for others and an American hero."

James Foley’s love for and pride in his alma mater is seen in his widely-read piece, Phone Call Home. AJCU says: “His death at the hands of IS is a stark reminder that life is precious and that our prayers for peace are needed now more than ever”.