In reflecting on Paul’s letter, I unexpectedly was moved to tears.

Tomorrow, a prayer vigil to remember slain journalist James Foley and to show support for the Foley family will be held at 6 p.m. in Milwaukee’s Church of the Gesu. Suddenly it hit me that Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are beautifully and painfully addressed to the Foley family, the Marquette University community James so dearly loved, and all who mourn the loss of a true man for others.

Grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ to you, James, the Foley family, and all in your faith-filled community, says Saint Paul.

Thank God for you because your faith flourishes ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.

Because of your endurance and faith in all your persecutions, your work in building the Kingdom of God continues. Even in the face of unfathomable evil.

We pray for you now, James, in gratitude for the good that you have brought to fulfillment through your faithful witness. And we ask for your intercession to give us the strength to respond to God’s call by continuing as a community of faith, hope, and love in a world that needs us more than ever.

Visit Marquette University’s website for more information on the prayer vigil, the James Foley Scholarship Fund, and a moving letter James wrote his alma mater (class of 1996) in 2011 after his first abduction in Libya.

—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for theMidwest Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.