Monday, July 28, 2008

Upcoming Pier Giorgio Events in Oropa

August will be an exciting month for friends of Pier Giorgio as he takes a place of honor in the beautiful sanctuary of Oropa. On Friday, August 1st, there will be a special Mass of welcoming at 8:30 in the evening, followed by a candlelight procession. The following evening, one of Pier Giorgio's nephews (Jas Gawronski) will take part in a special reflection on Pier Giorgio's bond with Oropa. Throughout the month, there will be many opportunities for prayer and reflection on Pier Giorgio's life. The complete schedule is available from the Sanctuary of Oropa website but is, unfortunately, only in Italian.

Pier Giorgio had a special love for Oropa and, after visiting there myself on many occasions, I can understand why. The sanctuary is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and is a place where you can really feel the presence of God. Pier Giorgio had an affinity for The Madonna of Oropa whom he referred to as "the Brown Madonna." Her large statue stands enclosed in glass behind the main altar of the "old church." Pilgrims regularly make the journey to this somewhat remote sanctuary. It is also a launching point for climbing the surrounding mountains and so there are often alpinists present on any given day. This amateur video of a Eucharistic procession was taken on an average day but note how many people participated.

On July 16, 1989, Pope John Paul II visited Oropa and gave the following Angelus message:

"To those who are devoted to her, especially young people -- like Pier Giorgio Frassati, who used to come up here to give himself to prayer -- the Blessed Virgin proposed to be a shelter and a refuge, the heavenly Mother who opens her house to give everyone the invigorating experience of a more profound contact with God.

Dear young people who are listening to me! Like Pier Giorgio, may you also discover the way of the Shrine, in order to undertake a spiritual journey which, under Mary's guidance, brings you closer to Christ. You can then become His witnesses with the conviction and keenness which characterized Pier Giorgio's apostolic activity. You will bear witness to Christ, as he did, especially in the university world, in which there are boys and girls who perhaps have not yet resolved the question of the meaning of their life. By word and example you can show that Christ has the really satisfactory solution for the crucial problems of life.

Dear friends, do not hesitate to come up here in search of light and strength for your journey of faith, and a more firm hope for a courageous and consistent Christian commitment in the world of today. Pier Giorgio Frassati stands before you as an outstanding layman of Catholic Action fully aware of his baptismal commitment to contribute to the Christian animation of his social environment, in complete harmony with the bishops of the Church."

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