CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — From New Hampshire to France and beyond, supporters of a journalist who disappeared in Syria nearly eight months ago planned a global moment of silence Thursday to pray for his safe return.
James Foley, 39, was last seen Nov. 22 in northwest Syria. He was contributing videos to Agence France-Press for the media company GlobalPost, which has said Foley was likely abducted by a pro-Syrian government military group. Investigators believe he is being held with one or more Western journalists in a detention facility near Damascus.
His family in Rochester asked supporters to take a moment at 3 p.m. to pray that Foley 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 Thursday for the prayer vigil because they named their son 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 her husband planned to participate in the moment of silence at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Rochester, which was holding an hour-long prayer service. A priest in France also planned a special mass, Diane Foley said, and individuals from Ireland and several other countries have contacted the family to say they will join in. James Foley's friends in New York, Chicago and the Middle East also planned to participate, she said.
In 2011, 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 State Department to use every means available to find Foley and other missing journalists.