Candles are lighted on the town common during a vigil for James Foley in his hometown of Rochester. Picture: Jim Cole

Rochester -

The American journalist beheaded by Islamic State militants, James Foley, is being remembered in a Catholic ceremony at his hometown church.

Sunday's Mass of Remembrance in Rochester, New Hampshire, comes five days after the extremists posted a Web video of Foley's killing and billed it as retaliation for American air strikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq.

The 40-year-old Foley, a freelance photojournalist, was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012. His captors reportedly demanded a 100 million euro ($133 million) ransom for his release.

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called Foley a hero for telling the stories of oppressed people in war-torn Syria and Libya. American special forces launched a secret Syrian raid this summer to rescue Foley and other hostages, but failed to pinpoint their location. - Sapa-AP