Friday, July 24, 2009

Servant of God, Francis J. Parater

The majority of Catholic priests in America (and in the world) are faithful to their commitment to God, leading quiet lives of service known only to the flocks they shepherd. They all started out as seminarians, taking that giant leap of love for God. One such seminarian was Frank Parater.
I would guess that most Americans have never heard of Servant of God, Frank Parater (1898-1920). He was a seminarian for the diocese of Richmond, Virginia. He had a desire since childhood to die for God and neighbor--definitely not an ordinary boy! In late January, 1920, he developed rheumatic fever while studying for the priesthood in Rome at the Pontifical North American College.
Although gravely ill, when he was given the Last Rites he wanted to get out of bed and kneel on the floor to receive Holy Communion. When that was not possible, he knelt on the bed to receive Jesus for the last time. He died February 7, 1920 at the age of 22.

After his death, an Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart was discovered in which he offered his life for the conversion of the people of his state of Virginia (written in December, 1919 when he was in good health). In 2002, Bishop Walter Sullivan of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond opened his cause for beatification and canonization.

A Prayer for Servant of God Frank Parater's intercession and more information from the Diocese of Richmond are here.

During this Year of the Priest, I hope to occasionally spotlight American priests (or seminarians) whose causes for beatification and canonization have been introduced. I feel it is important to focus on the exceptional dedication and known holiness of some of our American priests. There are also countless holy priests who will never be recognized in this way by the Church. We have much to thank God for in our priests.

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, Mother of all priests, and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.

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