Friday, 4 July 2008

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901 – 1925)

Today’s prayer intention is our Youth Group. This is as today we celebrate the memory of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a youthful saint who died at the age of 24. More about him further down. After Lauds and Mass, Fr Mark went to distribute the Home Communions and I to my hospital visit. (Hospital picture above)

Before the hospital I stopped in Church to greet the Mothers Union who assembled to support in prayer the MU worldwide.

Sacred Space is now coming up and I will offer my prayers for the Catholic Group in Synod, especially for Jim a staunch member of this congregation. They will be having a difficult time as they stand up to uphold the Faith once delivered to the saints. Please do remember them in your prayers.
Pier Giorgio Frassati was a friend to the poor, in whom he saw Christ. He combined an outdoor sports life with political activism and work for social justice, lived his short life "to the full". Mountain climbing was one of favourite sports. He also loved to ski and often went to the theatre, as he loved music and the arts.
He was born to a very wealthy family in Turin, Italy April 6, 1901. His mother, Adelaide was a painter and his father, an agnostic, was the founder and director of the liberal newspaper, La Stampa, (still published today) and was influential in Italian politics. As neither of Pier Giorgio's parents were practising Catholics it is still somewhat of a mystery where he received his great love for his faith.
He developed a deep spiritual life which he never hesitated to share with his friends. In 1918 he joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society and dedicated much of his spare time to serving the sick and the needy. He decided to go to university to become a mining engineer so he could "serve Christ better among the miners," as he told a friend.
Beneath the smiling exterior of the restless university student was concealed the amazing life of a mystic. Love for Jesus motivated his actions. When asked why he bothered with the poor he answered: "Jesus comes to me everyday by means of Holy Communion. I repay Him in my small way by visiting the poor." Beneath the robust lively exterior of the university student was concealed the amazing life of a mystic. Love for Jesus motivated his actions. He assisted at Mass and Communion daily, as he felt a strong mysterious urge to be near the Blessed Sacrament. Pier Giorgio prayed assiduously and frequently. He preferred the rosary, saying it while walking along a street or mountain path, together with friends or alone. He had great devotion to Our Lady and would spend all night in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
On June the 29th Pier Giorgio, weakened by poliomyelitis that he had likely caught visiting poor people in the slums of Turin, had no more than six days to live. His sickness was not understood. His parents wholly taken up by the agony, death and burial of his grandmother had not even suspected the paralysis. Far from it, two days before the end, his mother kept on scolding him for not helping her. Not even in those desperate final days could he ever forget his closest friends, the poor. While lying on his deathbed he wanted the usual material assistance to be brought to them. He asked his sister to take a small packet from his jacket and with a semi-paralysed hand he wrote the following note to Grimaldi: "here are the injections for Converso. The pawn ticket is Sappa's. I had forgotten it; renew it on my behalf".
Pier Giorgio died on July 4, 1925, at the age of 24. His family expected Turin's elite and political figures to come to offer their condolences and attend the funeral; they naturally expected to find many of his friends there as well. However, they were surprised to find the streets of the city lined with thousands of mourners. Those who mourned his death most were the poor and needy whom he had served so unselfishly for seven years. It was these poor people who petitioned the Archbishop of Turin to begin the cause for canonisation. Pope John Paul II beatified him on May 20, 1990. His feast day is July 4. His incorrupt body now lies in the cathedral at Turin.
Quote "To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living but existing"

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