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Pope phones family of slain U.S. journalist

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Pope Francis phoned the bereaved family of James Foley, a U.S. journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Syria.

In an Aug. 22 interview on NBC's "Today" show, John and Diane Foley briefly described the previous day's discussion with the pope, in which they spoke of shared grief at the death of loved ones.

"Pope Francis was so dear because he is grieving himself, having just lost three members of his family and (with) his nephew critically ill,'' Diane Foley said on the program. "Here in the midst of his tremendous grief, he took the time to call. Our whole family was there, one of our beloved priest friends ... was there, my brother-in-law spoke in Spanish to him. He was just so kind."

The wife and two young children of the pope's nephew, 35-year-old Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, were killed in a car crash Aug. 19 in Argentina. Bergoglio was critically injured.

John Foley said on the "Today" show that "we felt very comforted and supported" the pope offered his personal prayer.

Father Paul Gousse, pastor of the family's parish, Holy Rosary Church in Rochester, N.H, told Catholic News Service in an Aug. 22 phone call that the Foleys told him they were especially struck by the pope's outreach to them at a time when he is grieving himself. He said the pope spoke with several members of the family in a call that lasted more than 20 minutes.

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