Wednesday, July 4, 2012




(Vatican Radio IMAGE SOURCE) Pope Benedict XVI left Vatican City State for summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. He is officially ‘on holiday’ in the Alban Hills, where he will spend a period of rest for the month of July.
Vatican City, 4 July 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a letter written by the Holy Father to Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and dated 2 July.
"On the eve of my departure to spend the summer months at Castelgandolfo, I wish to express my profound appreciation for your discreet presence and wise counsel, which I have found particularly helpful over recent months.
"Having noted with sorrow the unjust criticisms that have been directed against your person, I wish to reiterate the expression of my personal confidence, which I already declared to you in a letter on 15 January 2010, the contents of which remain unchanged as far as I am concerned.
"In entrusting your ministry to the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, and to that of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, it is my pleasure to send you a fraternal greeting, accompanied by an apostolic blessing as a sign of all desired goodness".

Vatican City, 4 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Vatican City, 4 July 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Jose Ruy Goncalves Lopes O.F.M. Cap., director of the college of "Santo Antonio", parochial vicar and professor in the archdiocese of Feira de Santana, Brazil, as bishop of the diocese of Jequie (area 18,771, population 628,000, Catholics 545,000, priests 43, religious 36), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Feira de Santana in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1993. Among other things, he has worked as formator of novices for his order, minister provincial and vice president of the Conference of Capuchins of Brazil He succeeds Bishop Cristiano Jakob Krapf, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.


Andy Samuel Griffith was born on June 1, 1926 and died on July 3, 2012 at the age of 86. He was best known for his popular TV series The Andy Griffith Show(1960-1968) and Matlock (1986-1995). He was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, USA and died in Manteo, North Carolina. He was raised as a Baptist, Christian. His mother was Geneva Nunn and his father Carl Lee Griffith. He attended University of North Carolina. His 1st wife was Barbara Edwards whom he married in 1949. (divorced 1972). He then married Solica Cassuto in 1975 and divorced in 1981. In 1983 he married Cindi Knight with whom he stayed until death. His children were Andy Griffith Jr. (died 1996) and Dixie Griffith.
According to Cindi his last wife, "Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take c omfort and strength in God's Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God."

He acted in many roles on film, stage and TV. He was also a gifted muscian and won a Grammy for the album "I Love to Tell the Story."



by Nirmala Carvalho
The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) denounces anti-Christian attacks in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, perpetrated by the Hindu ultra-nationalists. In both cases, the common element is the complicity of police and authorities with the aggressors.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Attacks against Christians in India continue, perpetrated by the Hindu ultra-nationalists with the complicity of the police. The last few episodes have occurred in chronological order in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), denounces the situation is "no longer tolerable to secular India", where "more and more Christians do not enjoy the constitutional freedom to profess and practice their religion in their places of worship. "

The first episdoe July in Vijayapura (Karnataka) against Rev. Kantharaj Hanumanthappa, pastor of the Pentecostal Church Zion Prarthana Mandira, was leading a prayer service at his home. Suddenly, about 20 activists of the Bajrang Dal (Hindu ultranationalist group) interrupted the gathering, insulting and accusing the faithful present of proselytizing among the Hindus. In order not to escalate the situation, the pastor decided to halt the service. Then, along with some of these he went to the Burmasagar police station to file a complaint, but officers have not yet made any arrests.

A similar situation occurred in the village of Rahika (Sitapur district, Uttar Pradesh), during a three day gathering (26-28 June) of a Pentecostal church in the area. Around midnight on the first day, some police raided the home of Pastor Ramgopal, seized his phone and took him to the police station. The officers threatened him: "Either you go away from here and not ever come back, or we will arrest you." The intervention of local officials of the GCIC were fruitless: the police released him only after the pastor signed a statement, promising not to conduct any more prayer service in the area.

"Incidents like these - said Sajan George - are now commonplace, especially in states led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu ultra-nationalist party, Ed.) Members of the Sangh Parivar attack the vulnerable Christian community, in silence and protection from the authorities. Our appeals to provide security are useless. " SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT


Fr Jorge Madueira, Coordinator of EVS, Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Fr Willie Purcell, National Coordinator of Diocesan Vocations here in Ireland and Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. Photograph taken at the opening session of the EVS meeting in Maynooth.
Homily of Cardinal Seán Brady for opening Mass of the European Vocations Service Meeting in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare on Thursday 28 June 2012
Theme of meeting: The Eucharist – source of every Christian Vocation: Community, Testimony, Mission
• “The Eucharist reconnects us to the mission of the local and universal Church. The Eucharistic Congress pulled back the veil on the enormous range of apostolic activity that goes on every day in Ireland by lay faithful of every age, by outstanding consecrated persons and missionaries and by the thousands of outstanding priests of this country and abroad.” – Cardinal Brady
Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland has this evening opened the annual meeting of the European Vocations Service (EVS) which is taking place in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth from today Thursday 28 June until Sunday 1 July. The following is the text of Cardinal Brady’s homily which he preached at Mass this evening in Maynooth to mark the opening of the EVS meeting. His Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland was present for the opening session of the meeting and for the opening Mass.
Your Excellency, Archbishop Brown,
Sisters and Brothers from the Episcopal Conferences and National Vocations Centres of Europe,
On behalf of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, I extend a very warm and heartfelt welcome to you all. We are honoured that you have chosen Ireland as the venue for this Annual Congress of the European Vocations Service. You come to a local Church renewed, uplifted and strengthened by an extraordinary moment of grace. Just ten days ago we concluded the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. It was a truly remarkable experience. In fact, it is difficult to put into words just what an uplifting and grace-filled experience it was. Thousands of Catholics from all over the world gathered with the Irish Church for a week of reflection, celebration, testimony and prayer centred on the Blessed Eucharist. Many people remarked on the incredible atmosphere of unity, serenity and joy there was among us. It can only be attributed to the presence of Jesus himself in our midst. Even the occasional shower of rain could not dampen our joy or distract from the profound atmosphere of reverence that marked the daily celebration of the Eucharist. I hope that your experience of coming together, and of our Irish weather, will be the same!
It was wonderful and uplifting to meet so many people who share the amazing treasure of our Catholic faith at the Congress, especially so many young people. In fact, I hope you will be encouraged in your work of identifying and nurturing future spiritual leaders when I tell you that every day people had to be turned away from the talks and workshops. There is an incredible hunger for meaning in our world. There is an incredible thirst for God and for the truth and life we have to offer. So, have no doubt that the harvest continues to be rich, even if the labourers appear to be few! Have no doubt that your work continues to be of vital importance to the mission of the Church.
Your reflection on the Eucharist as the source of every vocation over these next few days brings you to the very heart of that mission. Perhaps the most often quoted words of the Second Vatican Council are that the Eucharistic liturgy is ‘the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows’ (SC, 10). What is less cited, however, is an important phrase that follows: it goes on to say that the Eucharist ‘draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire’ (SC, 10).
This ‘fire’ of course, is the fire of God’s love. It is the fire spoken of by the disciples on the road to Emmaus when they spoke of their hearts burning within them as they met the Lord and recognised him in the breaking of bread. It is the fire of Pentecost, which at the very birth of the Church blazed in the hearts of the Apostles and made the Church, through them, the sign and instrument ‘of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race’ (LG, 1).
My brothers and sisters, who among us has not heard an echo of that love in our own hearts? Who among us does not know what our Holy Father, Pope Benedict spoke of when he said in Deus Caritas Est, that ‘Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction’ (DCE, 1). Who among us has not been drawn to and strengthened in our vocation to priesthood, consecrated life or the committed lay vocation by the intimate, personal encounter with Jesus in the selfless words, ‘This is my body… do this in memory of me’, ‘This is the chalice of my blood… Do this in memory of me’?
As I reflect on the people who nurtured my own sense of priestly vocation, my own sense of the centrality and importance of the Eucharist for me and for the world, I realise it was always people who had a passion for the things of the Lord who inspired me. It was always people who, in spite of everything, including great suffering and set back, had a deep, intuitive sense of God’s love and God’s presence in the Eucharist who awoke in me the fires of God’s love that, however imperfectly, has prompted my daily ‘yes’ to the service of Christ as a priest and as a bishop.
This is why we cannot separate the mission of helping others to discern their vocation before the Lord from our devotion to the Eucharist. In the words of Pastores Dabo Vobis, ‘The service of love is the fundamental meaning of every vocation’ (PDV, 40). In the words of the Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to the Priestly Ministry, published by the Congregation for Catholic Education earlier this year, ‘every Christian vocation, is the history of an inexpressible dialogue between God and human beings, between the love of God who calls and the freedom of individuals who respond lovingly to him.’ This dialogue takes place most perfectly and most fruitfully in the Eucharist. Whatever our vocation, as the title of your programme suggests, every Christian vocation has its source and sustaining power in the Eucharist.
This was never more evident to me than when I visited the vast array of vibrant and committed movements, organisations and agencies of Catholic life active here in Ireland who had put up magnificent displays of their work at the RDS stadium in Dublin during the Eucharistic Congress. The Eucharist reconnects us to the mission of the local and universal Church. The Eucharistic Congress pulled back the veil on the enormous range of apostolic activity that goes on every day in Ireland by lay faithful of every age, by outstanding consecrated persons and missionaries and by the thousands of outstanding priests of this country and abroad.
While this involves a reflection on all the dimensions of vocation arising from our Baptism, it is important to give particular attention to the urgent need to foster vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life.
The renewed emphasis on the vocation and role of the lay faithful encouraged by the Second Vatican Council has naturally received particular attention in the years since the Council. What was particularly striking for me at the Eucharistic Congress, however, was the number of lay faithful, of every age, who expressed concern and prayed regularly for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.
While all are equal before God, and all the baptised have their share in the common priesthood of Christ, the document on Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to the Priestly Ministry, published by the Congregation for Catholic Education in March reminds us that ‘The Gospels present vocation as a marvellous meeting between God and human beings. This is the mystery of being called, the mystery that involves the life of every Christian, but which is manifested with greater clarity in those whom Christ invites to leave everything to follow him more nearly. Christ has always chosen some persons to work together with him in a more direct manner for the realization of the Father’s plan of salvation’ (n.6).
Given the particular challenge posed by the decline in vocations to priesthood and the consecrated life in Western Europe, it is important that the work of bringing the vocation and mission of the lay faithful to full fruition in the Church does not undermine the importance and particular character of the vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life. In parishes, in families, even in the secular world this has always been recognised and expressed in an open recognition of the special character of those who are singularly and publicly committed to intimacy with the Lord and to the universal mission of His Church in the ordained priesthood and religious life. While elitism or an exclusivist clericalism have no place in a proper understanding of Christian vocation, celebration, encouragement and active support for the particular intimacy, closeness and centrality of the role of the sacramental priesthood is an important and vital part of the life of the Church which has the Eucharist and the other sacraments as its source.
In choosing to reflect in a particular way on paragraph 17b of the document In Verbo Tuo… New Vocations for a New Europe, you have brought to the forefront of your reflection the stark reality that without the priesthood, there is no Eucharist. Without the Eucharist, there is no Church.
The document helpfully highlights a number of areas that require our attention and effort if this crisis of the Church in Western Europe is to be addressed. These include:
• A general recovery of our confidence and joy in the particular mission and role of the ordained priesthood. As a Christian community we should not hesitate to celebrate and rejoice at the gift of a vocation to the priesthood that has been nurtured, matured and affirmed by the proper authority and discernment of the Church. The link between the priesthood, the Eucharist and the other sacraments is so intrinsic and essential that it is completely proper that the whole Christian community should actively encourage young and indeed older men to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to discern a possible vocation to the priesthood. As those responsible for encouraging and supporting vocations to the priesthood we should be open to concern of some that we have become hesitant about speaking of the particular importance of the vocation to the priesthood for fear of undermining efforts to encourage a wider sense of baptismal vocation among the lay faithful. The two are not mutually exclusive but mutually complimentary. A proper understanding of the ordained priesthood encourages and rejoices in the full, proper and active participation of the lay faithful in their vocation and likewise the lay faithful should rejoice, celebrate and actively encourage the particular vocation and ministry of the ordained priest.
• The document also highlights the importance of the family as the first school of the virtues of Christian life and the natural ‘womb’ of priestly vocation. I encourage you, as I encourage families to renew their sense of mission and importance as the seed bed of vocations to the priesthood, especially through their example of family prayer and concern for those who are in need. By supporting and encouraging the fundamental vocation of parents to Christian family life, as the domestic Church, we will also provide the fertile soil of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This is as aspect of your work and mission that I encourage you to consider.
• The document further highlights something which we all know from our experience of young people in the local Church, in our parishes and in our schools. Young people have a tremendous capacity for generosity, for service of others and for outreach to the vulnerable and those in need. They also have a greater sense than previous generations of the potential for global unity and solidarity. They all listen to the same music, wear the same sweat shirts, they use the same mobile phones and global social networks. Perhaps for the first time in human history this makes the nature of the Church as the sacrament of unity of the whole human family a prospect that finds expression in the practical culture and experience of the younger generation. When our Holy Father, Pope Benedict speaks of our fundamental vocation as artisans, active citizens of the civilisation of love, I believe we propose something that is real and attractive to young people in particular. I encourage you to reflect, as we should throughout the Church, on the potential of the proposition of the civilisation of love to encourage greater participation by young people in the life of the Church, as well as vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
• Finally, the document speaks of the importance of supporting the work of encouraging vocations to the priesthood with prayer. It is striking and can never be forgotten that in response to the recognition that the harvest is rich, our Lord said simply and starkly that we should pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers.
Do we do enough to encourage prayer for vocations in our homes, in our parishes, in the wider Church? This must always be a question that exercises a meeting of a service dedication to the promotion of vocations.
Your work is vital to the future of the Church generally, and to the Church in Europe in particular. Saint Irenaeus, whose Memorial we celebrate today, reminded us of the link between the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and the very promise of our resurrection from the Lord. In celebrating the Eucharist, he said, ‘we proclaim communion and unity and profess our belief in the resurrection of flesh and spirit’. In receiving the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, he said, we are no longer corruptible, for we have the hope of resurrection.
Our world needs confident, cheerful and generous heralds of hope – of hope in this life and hope in the peace and joy of the life to come. It would be wrong of us to believe that the current generation of young people is less open, less generous or less willing to give their lives wholeheartedly and generously to the service of the Gospel than generations in the past. What we need is to pray and to have confidence in our own vocation. We need a renewed joy and recognition of the unique identity and role of the ordained priesthood and the consecrated life. We need the courage to ask young people and others to respond to the call of the Lord, to take the step of discerning his will, and in the spirit of our Gospel, of building their future on the rock of faith. We need to hear the voice of those incredible young priests and religious who continue to come forward and give their lives in joyful service to the Gospel in spite of the many cultural and other pressures that press against their generosity and faith.
By way of conclusion, I put before you the memory of a young man I knew who spent part of his priestly formation in the Irish College in Rome. Although he was not from Ireland, he also spent some of his summers here helping out on the penitential island of Lough Derg and some local parishes. His name was Fr Ragheed Ghanni. He was ordained for the Diocese of Mosul in Iraq. Those who knew him were struck by his incredible faith, even though he had grown up in a Muslim culture. They were also very struck by his joy at being a priest and his deep commitment to returning to serve his people in Mosul in Iraq once he was ordained and had finished his studies. On the third of June 2007, only six years after he was ordained and four years after he returned to his home Diocese of Mosul, Fr Ghanni was brutally murdered along with three sub-deacons of his parish as they left the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist with their parishioners at Holy Spirit Chaldean Church in Mosul. When he returned to Iraq, Fr Ghanni knew the dangers that awaited him as a priest. He did not hesitate to face those dangers with courage and utter generosity towards the Christian people and the wider society he had been called to serve. I am pleased that his image is celebrated on the new apse of the Chapel of the Irish College in Rome. I am pleased that a copy of that image and the apse formed a backdrop to the celebration of the Eucharist during the week of the recent Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
We should never lose faith in God’s power to raise up women and men in every age who are living and courageous witnesses to his love. Our challenge is to have the courage and the faith to invite those we believe and who may have received that call to come forward and to discern with the Church what the Lord asks of them. The harvest is rich but the labourers are few. Let us pray to the Lord to send more labourers the great harvest that every day opens up before us as a great challenge, and as a great opportunity.
Notes to Editors:
The European Vocations Service meeting is an opportunity for National Vocations Directors from across Europe to come together to present and discuss the work which is taking place to foster vocations in each of their countries and the challenges which exist. This year’s meeting will also focus on the new document released earlier this week by the Vatican’s Congregation for Education “Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry”. The EVS meeting is held annually and is hosted by a different country each year. It was last held in Ireland in 2001. The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Eucharist – source of every Christian Vocation: Community, Testimony, Mission”.
Some of the speakers and their topics are:
 Presentation of document about pastoral promotion of vocations – Fr Francis Bonnici from the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.
 Ministry for Vocations in Ireland – Bishop Donal McKeown, Chair of the Bishops’ Council for Vocations
 The Eucharist – continuing school on a vocation’s way, and place to hear a call - Antonio Bravo Tisner from Spain
 Ethical and radical existence – result of partaking in the Eucharist – Testimony by Rev Conall O’Cuinn SJ from Ireland
 The 50th International Eucharistic Congress – Fr Kevin Doran from Ireland
 The anthropological dimension of vocation in a contemporary culture – Franco Imoda SJ from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome
 There will also be input from Alessandro Perrone from the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life as well as some general input from
 Workshops at the meeting will include one on universities, families and technology
On Saturday 30 June the delegates will have an opportunity to visit the monastic site of Glendalough in Co Wicklow and to hear about the life and work of Saint Kevin and they will have celebration of the Eucharist in the local parish church. The closing Mass of the EVS meeting will take place on Sunday 1 July after which the delegates will depart Maynooth.
The meeting is a working meeting and is therefore not open to members of the public or members of the media. Texts and homilies which are made available to the CCO will be published on A report on the meeting will be made available once it has concluded.
Images from the official opening are available on request from the Catholic Communications Office 087 310 4444
For media contact: Ms Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 00353 (0) 87 310 4444



Full of grace and truth

Go to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Sunday Photo Gallery
Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, celebrated Mass for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Sunday at Holy Family Centre Emerton on 1 July.
Players from the Greater Western Sydney Giants Australian Football League Club joined the celebrations at a lunch held in the Aboriginal Catholic Services Centre following Mass.
Read Bishop Anthony's Homily
Go to Photo Gallery
Koori women’s health program at Aborignal Catholic Services
Visit Aboriginal Catholic Services at the CatholicCare Parramatta site


Agenzia Fides report - "National independence is a gift of God and it is up to us to bear fruit." This is the meaning of the message of the Bishops of Burundi read in all churches on Sunday 1 July, for the 50th anniversary of independence of the Country.
In the message, sent to Fides Agency, it recalls that the Church has helped to spread the idea of independence by teaching that all men, blacks and whites are equal before God.
"Even the appointment of the first Bishop of Burundi, Mgr. Michel Ntuyahaga, as well as the erection of the diocese in 1959, was a sign that the time had come for the independence of Burundi," write the Bishops.
Thanks to independence, it is stressed in the Message that the Burundians have received many gifts: the right of citizenship and free speech in the concert of nations, political and administrative autonomy, organizational freedom in the economic and cultural field. "Besides - add the Bishops - when we give thanks to God, we cannot hide the fact that in some respects, we have acted as the servant who received one talent but has hidden it under earth, instead of making the most of it". Instead of advancing democracy and national economy, in fact, "we Burundians place primary emphasis on ethnicity, regionalism, social background and affiliations to political parties," write the Bishops, with a clear reference to several civil wars that rocked the early decades of independence.
"The wars that have followed have brought enormous destruction and the consequence is that now our Country is among the poorest Countries in the world," says the message. To overcome this situation the Bishops emphasize the need to consolidate democracy (which is not just regular elections but also the opportunity for all citizens to make their voices heard) and boost economic development.
"As you have seen, we are still far from having made fruitful the treasure of Independence that God gave us. There is still a long way to go. But there is no need to despair, the important thing is to start in the right direction. We can always make fruitful, for God and for Burundians, the treasures that the Lord has entrusted to us, if we work with determination to serve our country ", conclude the bishops. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/07/2012)


Matthew 25: 31 - 46
31 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
40 And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;
42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'
44 Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?'
45 Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'
46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
Feast: July 4

Feast Day: July 4
April 6, 1901, Turin, Italy
Died: July 4, 1925, Turin, Italy
Canonized: May 20, 1990 by Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is a saint for the modern world, and especially for the young people of our time. Born in 1901 in Turin, Italy, his time on earth was short-only 24 years-but he filled it passionately with holy living. Pier Giorgio was a model of virtue, a "man of the beatitudes," as Pope John Paul II called him at the saint's beatification ceremony in Rome on May 20, 1990. He was described by friends as "an explosion of joy." As Pier Giorgio's sister, Luciana, says of her brother in her biography of him, "He represented the finest in Christian youth: pure, happy, enthusiastic about everything that is good and beautiful."
To our modern world which is often burdened by cynicism and angst, Pier Giorgio's life offers a brilliant contrast, a life rich in meaning, purpose, and peace derived from faith in God. From the earliest age, and despite two unreligious parents who misunderstood and disapproved of his piety and intense interest in Catholicism, Pier Giorgio placed Christ first in all that he did. These parental misunderstandings, which were very painful to him, persisted until the day of his sudden death of polio. However, he bore this treatment patiently, silently, and with great love.
Pier Giorgio prayed daily, offering, among other prayers, a daily rosary on his knees by his bedside. Often his agnostic father would find him asleep in this position. "He gave his whole self, both in prayer and in action, in service to Christ," Luciana Frassati writes. After Pier Giorgio began to attend Jesuit school as a boy, he received a rare permission in those days to take communion daily. "Sometimes he passed whole nights in Eucharistic adoration." For Pier Giorgio, Christ was the answer. Therefore, all of his action was oriented toward Christ and began first in contemplation of Him. With this interest in the balance of contemplation and action, it is no wonder why Pier Giorgio was drawn in 1922 at the age of 21 to the Fraternities of St. Dominic. In becoming a tertiary, Pier Giorgio chose the name "Girolamo" (Jerome) after his personal hero, Girolamo Savonarola, the fiery Dominican preacher and reformer during the Renaissance in Florence. Pier Giorgio once wrote to a friend, "I am a fervent admirer of this friar (Savonarola), who died as a saint at the stake."
Pier Giorgio was handsome, vibrant, and natural. These attractive characteristics drew people to him. He had many good friends and he shared his faith with them with ease and openness. He engaged himself in many different apostolates. Pier Giorgio also loved sports. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved hiking, riding horses, skiing, and mountain climbing. He was never one to pass on playing a practical joke, either. He relished laughter and good humor.
As Luciana points out, "Catholic social teaching could never remain simply a theory with [Pier Giorgio]." He set his faith concretely into action through spirited political activism during the Fascist period in World War I Italy. He lived his faith, too, through discipline with his school work, which was a tremendous cross for him as he was a poor student. Most notably, however, Pier Giorgio (like the Dominican St. Martin de Porres) lived his faith through his constant, humble, mostly hidden service to the poorest of Turin. Although Pier Giorgio grew up in a privileged environment, he never lorded over anyone the wealth and prestige of his family. Instead, he lived simply and gave away food, money, or anything that anyone asked of him. It is suspected that he contracted from the very people to whom he was ministering in the slums the polio that would kill him.
Even as Pier Giorgio lay dying, his final week of rapid physical deterioration was an exercise in heroic virtue. His attention was turned outward toward the needs of others and he never drew attention to his anguish, especially since his own grandmother was dying at the same time he was. Pier Giorgio's heart was surrendered completely to God's will for him. His last concern was for the poor. On the eve of his death, with a paralyzed hand, he scribbled a message to a friend, reminding the friend not to forget the injections for Converso, a poor man Pier Giorgio had been assisting.
When news of Pier Giorgio's death on July 4, 1925 reached the neighborhood and city, the Frassati parents, who had no idea about the generous self-donation of their young son, were astonished by the sight of thousands of people crowded outside their mansion on the day of their son's funeral Mass and burial. The poor, the lonely, and those who had been touched by Pier Giorgio's love and faithful example had come to pay homage to this luminous model of Christian living.
Pier Giorgio's mortal remains were found incorrupt in 1981 and were transferred from the family tomb in the cemetery of Pollone to the Cathedral of Turin.


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