Bishop Philip writes…
Ryan Browne, one of our seminarians in Rome, recently sent me this photo from a visit he made to the shrine in Turin. Meanwhile, I recently received an email from Christine Wohar, the Executive Director of Frassati USA:
Dear Bishop Philip, Christ is risen! We are not even halfway through the Easter season but the prince of this world is hard at work trying to distract us and rob our joy. Resist and keep those Alleluias on your lips! Rightfully, Our Lady takes the highest place of honour throughout the month of May. But did you know that Blessed Pier Giorgio has two very special anniversaries in the coming weeks? On Friday, 20th May, we mark the 32nd anniversary of his beatification that took place on the piazza of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Even if you don’t speak Italian, you can relive a little of that glorious day by clicking on the picture above and watching this two-minute video with a few images of Pier Giorgio and the sweet, strong voice of a youthful Pope John Paul II. The homily from that Mass is a wonderful meditation for the Easter season and worth rereading each year. Consider setting aside a few minutes on the 20th to reflect on it. Also, I find this an especially meaningful time to pray the novena in honour of Bl. Frassati simply in thanksgiving for the gift that he is to the Church.
Now, the second big anniversary this month is one you may not be aware of – if you are only a casual Frassati-phile. Pier Giorgio became a card-carrying member of the Third Order of Preachers when he made his profession of vows 100 years ago on May 28, 1922. Just 21 years old, Pier Giorgio was already so advanced along his spiritual journey. “I remember that when I raised him from his knees and gave him the Sign of Peace after he read his formula of Profession, his cheeks were wet from his tears,” attested Fr. Francesco Robotti, O.P. He took the religious name, “Fra Gerolamo.” He often signed letters with that name and used it to remain anonymous when doing certain works of charity. By the way, the Master of the Dominican Order placed the entire Dominican Laity under the special protection of Blessed Frassati on his beatification day in 1990.
Bishop Philip, the beatification of a normal guy like Pier Giorgio reminds us that we can be holy. He brings a message of hope that we need so much in today’s world. I’m so grateful that you appreciate his message and that you are striving to follow in his footsteps. When times get tough, remember his encouraging words, “The higher we go, the better we will hear the voice of Christ.” Onward and upward. Alleluia! Let us pray: “O merciful God, Who through the perils of the world deigned to preserve by Your grace Your servant Pier Giorgio Frassati pure of heart and ardent of charity, listen, we ask You, to our prayers and, if it is in Your designs that he be glorified by the Church, show us Your will, granting us the graces we ask of You, through his intercession, by the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.”