It is my sincere pleasure to introduce to you my good friend, Pier Giorgio Frassati. (Or “Hottie Frassati,” as he’s known in some circles; I mean, look at this guy…)
Yet, I find myself continuing to grow closer to this man is many ways. And more importantly, through him growing closer to the person of Jesus.
Pier Giorgio Frassati is a Blessed on the road to Sainthood, and is the ideal model for young Catholics today – or, to be more catholic, truly for any young person today. His life was one that is utterly relatable for those around the college stage of life. He spent his time leading a rowdy band of friends, pulling pranks, intensely enjoying sports and the great outdoors, and even complaining about school (which to his credit, is quite hard not to do when you’re studying to be an engineer).
And yet, in the midst of his ordinary, everyday life, Pier Giorgio was on fire for Christ and his Gospel – and it showed. Son of an extremely wealthy and well known family in Turin, Italy, he spent most of his days quietly giving away his fortune to the poor in his midst. He would spend hours in Eucharistic Adoration (often alongside some friends who were there because they had lost pool hall bets to him), and would be so focused that he once didn’t even notice hot wax dripping on to him from a candle as he knelt in prayer.
He would lead friends on weekend hiking trips, but only if he could secure a priest who would come with them to celebrate mass wherever they would happen to find themselves in the mountains.
I think the last line on the back cover of Maria Di Lorenzo’s biography puts it best when it describes him as “a man who succeeded in wrestling holiness from everyday life.”
(As an aside, Pope John Paul II – who incidentally would have celebrated a mountain mass for Pier Giorgio in a heartbeat – inspires us with another non-English exhortation: “Duc in altum” – put out into the deep. You have altitude options, my friends; just seek Him somewhere….)
Bl. Pier Giorgio is one of the patrons of our group (along with St. Paul), and serves as a model and a help as we strive to live out our Catholic faith in our everyday college lives. He has become the namesake for the Frassati Catholic Speaker Series that we have instituted to bring Catholic speakers on to campus, as well as for the less-than-official Pier Giorgio Hiking and Climbing clubs, which try to respectively frequent Red River Gorge and the UC rock wall as often as possible in his spirit.
Verso l’alto, my friends!
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati,
– Pray for us.