October 13, 2015 — Marquette University is hosting several events this month to honor alumnus James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria and later murdered by Islamic State militants in August 2014.
Foley, a 1996 graduate of Marquette, attributed much of his life’s commitment to social justice to his Jesuit education. “Marquette University has always been a friend to me,” Foley wrote in a letter when he was first captured and held in Libya. “The kind who challenges you to do more and be better and ultimately shapes who you become.”
Among the events was a Mass of Remembrance on Oct. 11, which included a blessing of a painting of Foley. A Rosary for Peace will be held on Oct. 18, which would have been Foley’s 42nd birthday. In the Catholic faith, the month of October is traditionally dedicated to praying the rosary. Foley, who said that “Marquette was perhaps never a bigger friend to me than when I was imprisoned as a journalist,” prayed the rosary while in captivity.
“It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed,” he said. “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.”
is now inviting schools, parishes, organizations and people of all faiths
around the world to share in the prayer event remotely by registering at the
James Foley Rosary for Peace page. Marquette will provide 200 rosaries for those
participating on campus.
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, supporting American hostages, their families, freelance journalists and disadvantaged children, will host the first annual Foley Foundation 5K in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Oct. 17. A “virtual run” option allows participation around the world, where runners are mailed a shirt that can be worn to demonstrate support.
Marquette also announced its first-ever James Foley Scholarship recipient, Jacob Zelinski, on the one-year anniversary of Foley’s death in August. Zelinski, who just began his freshman year at Marquette and plans to major in theatre arts and digital media, is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.
“James Foley embodied so many of our Jesuit, Catholic ideals and … we can all be proud to shine a positive light on his remarkable legacy,” Marquette president Michael R. Lovell said. “James was a man for others who sought the truth in everything he encountered, and he and his family and friends will always be members of our Marquette family.”