Pope Francis' Missionary Offers to Pay For Riley Strain's Funera
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Pope Francis' Missionary Offers to Pay For Riley Strain's Funeral: "Our Heart Broke"

Riley Strain's family and friends are in mourning, and one priest wants to do what he can to help. One of Pope Francis's missionaries has offered to pay for Strain's funeral.

Speaking with WKRN, Father Jim Sichko said he's been following Strain's case, and he feels saddened by the 22-year-old's passing. He wanted to do what he could to help Strain's family. "Our heart broke. Here was a young, vibrant individual and we all felt, what can we do?" said Sichko, Papal Missionary of Mercy for Pope Francis, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Sichko holds the distinction of being only one of 700 priests chosen for the Papal Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis. He also offered some additional detail on what he exactly does. "Of the over the 700 of us we all have various charisms, I happen to be one that spends my full-time ministry preaching and doing random acts of kindness and mercy throughout the world," Sichko said.

Sichko wants to send a little kindness to Strain's family. He reached out on social media trying to find a way to connect with the family. He said, "Social media can be both a strength and a weakness and this is showing the strength and the good of social media." Fortunately, he was able to make contact.

Priest Agrees to Cover Riley Strain's Funeral

The priest said that he told Strain's family that he would cover the costs of his funeral. "I reached out and said, 'Look you don't know me, but this is the ministry I am part of, how can I help?'" Strain's funeral comes at a time of resurrection in the Christian faith. Easter represents when Jesus rose from the grave.  He said, "The crucifixion wasn't the end. There was a resurrection. In other words, there is hope. And I tried to connect with them and say even in this dark time, realize there is hope somehow that something from this will better society and better our world."

It's been a tough time for Strain's family. In a previous press conference, his stepfather opened up about how they're doing.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster," Strain's stepfather Chris Whiteid said. "We're quite thankful for everything that you've done for our family, the grace that you've given us, it means a lot, more than you'll ever know. We have learned through his ordeal that everybody has brought all the good to us. We've had a little bad, you're gonna have that, but it has given us faith in people that sometimes gets clouded by what we're constantly hearing."