Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three Prayers for Our Lady of Guadalupe

It was seven years ago today that my good friend Jere Griggs accompanied me to file official paperwork for FrassatiUSA. On December 12, 2006, a ministry dedicated to promoting the spirituality of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was born!

I've mentioned before that Jere put down the very first $100 to launch FrassatiUSA and was a faithful supporter until his death in October.  I'm certain Pier Giorgio was waiting to greet him and thank him not only for helping FrassatiUSA but for his years of service to the poor as a member of our parish St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Jere was a man made in Pier Giorgio's mold.  I miss him.

In a sense, there is nothing extra special about this seventh anniversary of FrassatiUSA.  On the other hand, there is everything special about it.  But for the grace of God and the loving intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, there is no way it would have lasted seven years.  But it has endured against all odds.  People from all over the world have come to know Blessed Pier Giorgio through the website, printed materials, Facebook page, Twitter, even this blog.  And that alone is worth celebrating. Thank you, Jesus!

I have three constant prayers for Our Lady of Guadalupe as we head into year eight:
1) for the canonization of Pier Giorgio,
2) for the funding to allow the work of this ministry to flourish and bear much fruit, and
3) for another laborer in this little vineyard who is a computer/Quickbooks/social media whiz!

That's not asking too much, is it?  :)

Verso l'alto!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Letters to Pope Francis

Got a few minutes, a devotion to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and $1.10?  Then you have what it takes to send a letter to Pope Francis and ask him to canonize Pier Giorgio!  Why not make this part of your Advent preparations?

I've never written a letter to any pope before but I have friends who have done it over the years.  One wrote so much to Pope Benedict XVI that we teased her about him being her boyfriend!  And guess what?  She got letters back!  Now I don't think he sat down and typed them out himself but we always enjoyed reading the responses. 

A few things have happened recently that have inspired me to write to Pope Francis about Pier Giorgio that I hope will also inspire you.  First, it became evident very early into his papacy that he has a lot in common with Pier Giorgio.  Think of the similarities:

1) Pope Francis' father was an Italian from the Piedmont region -- same place as Pier Giorgio.
2) Pope Francis is a Jesuit priest -- same religious order that so greatly influenced Pier Giorgio as a child and introduced him to daily Eucharist.  The first postulator for Pier Giorgio's beatification was a Jesuit priest.
3) Pope Francis grew up in Argentina -- same place as the current postulator for Pier Giorgio's cause.
4) Pope Francis loves the poor and strives to live simply despite the availability of luxuries that normally are provided to a pope.  Do I even need to explain that Pier Giorgio loved the poor and lived simply despite the availability of luxuries available to the son of a senator?

I could go on but I hope you see the point.  It seemed to me from day one that Pope Francis was destined to be the pope who would canonize Pier Giorgio.  

Then, last month, Pope Francis decided on and announced themes for the next three World Youth Days.  What were they?  The Beatitudes! The Pope is urging young people to read and live the Beatitudes!  And who is known as "The Man of the Beatitudes"?  Yes, none other than Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.

Finally, just the other day, Pope Francis celebrated Advent vespers with university students from Rome and whom did he quote in an effort to inspire the students to live and not merely exist?  Yes, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati!  

Last week, as the daily Mass readings approached the end of the liturgical year, we heard Jesus talking about signs.  He said we should observe the signs and know what they mean. When we see the buds of a plant opening, for example, we know that summer is near. Well, if you ask me, when Pope Francis makes the Beatitudes a three-year-focus for World Youth Day and quotes Pier Giorgio on the eve of Advent, it's time to write him a letter!  :)

Oh, I bet you're saying there needs to be a miracle for canonization, right?  Well, I happen to know that a miracle from the United States was submitted three years ago and is awaiting approval.  The process is slow but you-know-who sure could speed it up!  

Maybe it's a little unusual to try this approach; but this pope has done a few things that, let's just admit it, have been a little unusual! 

Write to the Holy Father.  Short and sweet letters will do.  And if enough of them arrive, who knows, maybe we will have a "Santo Pier Giorgio Frassati" subito!

Here's the address:
His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City   

Don't forget the $1.10 stamp!  Verso l'alto!