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
00120 Vatican City
Don't forget the $1.10 stamp! Verso l'alto!