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James Foley Memorial Set In His New Hampshire Home Town


James Foley would have turned 41 today. The journalist who was murdered by the Islamic State was known for his reporting on the conflicts of the Middle East. Jim Foley's life will be celebrated in his hometown of Rochester, New Hampshire today. The memorial service is taking place at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish. Father Marc Montminy, a close friend of the family, is leading the service. He joins us now. Thanks for being with us.

FATHER MARC MONTMINY: You're very welcome. It's good to be with you.

SIMON: What do you remember about Jim Foley?

MONTMINY: We remember him as a child. Many people around the world remember him more as an adult 'cause when you're young, you see people from one vantage point. As you get older, they develop and grow into their own person. Jim was always a happy guy. He was also, I felt, very pensive at times. He was a thinker. He was the type of guy who could see things that perhaps other people didn't see as clearly.

SIMON: His religion was important to him and is important to the family I gather.

MONTMINY: Well, you know, as with most kids, I wouldn't say that religion was vital at that point of his life. When you're a kid - and not in every situation, but in many - you tend to reject what your parents hold dear. So I would say as kids, like most kids, they were dragged to church on Sundays. So Jim would have been the type of guy, like many others, who at the time, religion was a thing you did because you had to do it. I think he became much for aware of his religious convictions and of his faith relationship with the Lord as he grew older and especially as he experienced so much pain in the world.

SIMON: I gather a service was held for Jim, and I gather the theme was forgiveness.

MONTMINY: Yes. The mass, it was a theme of healing and hope. I think it was celebrated in terms of thinking of the healing that needed to happen that time 'cause we were also broken, I think, in distress. Coming together as people of faith, it made a big difference for all of us. And I think what it also did is it brought closure and solace and peace to the many people who are involved.

SIMON: What would you suggest we keep in our minds and hearts about Jim Foley, his life and his lesson this weekend?

MONTMINY: Well, you know, I think when you look at a guy like Jim Foley, who was a man of action, a man who wanted to help people - he could have done it in a variety of ways. He had a real knack of getting to know people and love people. He wanted to be there to help them, to give them a better life. That's one of the reasons that I think he became a reporter. He wanted people to know the truth. He wanted people to look at evil head on and try to make a difference. And he did that in his life and I think hopefully through his death. He's made a real impact on society.

SIMON: Father Marc Montminy. He's leading today's memorial service for James Foley in Rochester, New Hampshire. Father Marc, thanks very much for speaking with us.

MONTMINY: You're very welcome. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.