Friday, June 22, 2012

Prayers for Peter Frates

Peter Frates
Two summers ago, Peter Frates was opening up a championship season with the Lexington Blue Sox of the Inter-City Baseball League. Spectacular plays in center-field coupled with his powerful presence at the plate made him the consensus choice for Most Valuable Player for the league that summer. Last summer, things were different. Pete lost a step in the outfield and couldn’t get his bat on the ball the way he used to do so naturally. He was struggling and he couldn’t figure out why. The answer to the that question finally came in March with the devastating prognosis that A.L.S. (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) was behind his decline on the baseball field and the progressive difficulty that confronted him in the performance of his everyday activities. His family and friends were plunged into shock and disbelief. No one could believe this was happening! Peter is 28 years old and has kept himself in perfect physical condition during a stellar high school career in football, hockey and baseball at Saint John’s Prep, followed by four years of baseball at Boston College that was capped by his designation as Captain during his senior year. He even managed to prolong his baseball career by traveling to Germany for a season of professional baseball. His decision to get his professional career in business on track was buoyed by the opportunity that he had when he left the office to still head to the baseball field to play three or four nights a weeks with collegiate and former minor players in the Inter-City Baseball League.

 Some of you remember that I spoke about Peter during  my Easter Homily this year. I shared my 
frustration that our faith doesn’t always give us the answers we need to handle all the challenges that 
come our way over the course of our life journey. To be honest, the prognosis that Peter received in 
March really shattered personally me and severely tested my faith. It is only Peter’s amazing attitude 
of hope that has lifted me from the darkness I experienced during the weeks following his diagnosis. 
There is no cure for A.L.S. and Peter knows this, but he is determined to live every day that God gives 
him meaningfully and trusts that some good will come from all of this. I invited Peter to come to 
Saint Patrick Parish a year ago to speak to our 10th grade students right before their Confirmation. 
Peter is a man of faith and his witness to his faith exerted a powerful impact on our young people just 
as his witness to his faith at this time is inspiring others to faith. I am confident God will work some 
good from Peter’s courageous witness to faith and hope.

What Peter needs now is a miracle. Miracles do happen! I have encouraged Peter’s family and friends 
to join me in praying for a miracle through the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati who was 
beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1990 as he proclaimed him ‘The Man of the Eight Beatitudes.’ 
Pier Giorgio lived an extraordinary life of holiness and service to the poor at the beginning of the 
20th century in the City of Turn.  He died in 1924 at the age of twenty-four from Polio that he had 
contracted while caring for the needs of a poor man who was afflicted with Polio. You can read the 
whole story of Pier Giorgio’s life by googling his name and checking out a number of sites that relate 
his amazing story. Peter needs a miracle to beat A.L.S. and Pier Giorgio needs a miracle to make the 
final step to canonization as a saint of the Church. The young people of the Church need a saint like 
Pier Giorgio Frassati. We have begun a crusade of prayer that Peter Frates might experience a 
miraculous cure through the intercession of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. The prayer for his 
canonization is printed in the bulletin for your convenience. Please clip and pray this prayer for the
 intention of Peter’s miracle.

If you would like to know more about Peter Frates, you can google his name or go to his website:  
Pete Frates #3 Fund. The site includes newspaper accounts of his heroic struggle and the video of an 
interview with Kelly Tuttle on Channel Five a month ago.

 Pier Giorgio and Peter Frates share the same patron saint in Saint Peter. They share the same rock solid
faith as young adults Catholics. They even share a remarkable physical resemblance to each other. What
a great gift of God it would be if Peter Frates with the help of our prayers assists Pier Giorgio in the 
final step to the proclamation of his sainthood. The feast day of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is July 4th 
and the Novena of Prayer for his feast day begins on June 24. We will try to have prayer cards with the 
picture of Blessed Pier Giorgio available next weekend for those to join in this novena of prayer, until 
then please clip and pray the prayer in this week’s bulletin.  

Peter Frates today would readily echo the words of Blessed Pier Giorgio: “You ask me I am in good 
spirits. How could I not be so? As long as Faith gives me strength I will always be joyful.”  

-- Submitted by Fr. Bill Schmidt, Pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Stoneham, MA