In 2011 I was privileged to form, with five amazing young Catholics, the founding group of Frassati Australia. This is a group of young Catholic men, some of whom live in Frassati Houses in brotherhood and mutual support, seeking to live their Catholic faith in an authentic and sacramental way, always mindful of the voice of the Holy Father and the teachings of the Church, and to bring other young men to experience the truth and freedom of the Catholic faith.
The founders, all of whom had experience of NET (National Evangelisation Teams), saw a great need among young men for the Catholic faith and the meaning and truth it brings to life. We do this under the patronage of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.
The year 2011 was a development period with some obstacles and setbacks but in 2012 there was a virtual explosion both of activity and of possibilities, all, we are convinced, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the careful guidance of Bl Pier Giorgio. Last year culminated with our Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, giving us his blessing and encouraging us to continue what we do. His Grace has agreed to be our ecclesiastical patron.
So, who are we?
At the centre of Frassati Australia are the young men who live in the Houses. This year we have four houses, one more than last year, and 16 men living in faith and brotherhood.
They commit as residents of a Frassati House to the following:
• Sunday Mass and, at least, one daily Mass per week;
• the Sacrament of Penance each month;
• personal prayer each day;
• regular communal prayer in the house;
• regular spiritual reading and spiritual direction;
• works of charity;
• regular Eucharistic adoration; and
• attendance at Frassati events.
Along with the residents, other young men form Milites Mariae, the core group of around twenty, whose name comes from the youth group that Pier Giorgio himself began in his own parish church of La Consolata in Turin. This group meets monthly for dinner, a formation talk and Compline. These young men also engage regularly in serving at the altar in both forms of the Mass. The highlight last year for them was to serve with the Archbishop at the Corpus Christi Procession.
These men, along with a wider group of both young men and women, come together each Monday night at St Joseph's Church at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane, for Verso L'Alto, one of Pier Giorgio's sayings meaning "to the top" or "to the summit"; he was a great mountain climber.
These Monday nights always begin with Mass (once a month in the Extraordinary Form) followed by catechesis/formation/a talk and then supper. We get up to sixty young adults along. St Joseph's is central and allows young people to come from all parts of the City and, being close to the CBD, they can come straight from work if they work there.
In addition, Frassati Australia engages in evangelisation through distribution of Lighthouse Catholic Media and Parousia Media materials. Occasionally, the young men who are trained in youth ministry become involved in youth ministry retreats and talks.
Frassati Australia is guided as well by a committee of advisors, who act much like uncles or mentors to the young men. Our advisors are mature and committed Catholic men, all of whom have extensive professional and financial experience.
This April a small group went on pilgrimage to Turin and Rome. In Turin, we prayed at our patron's tomb (his body is incorrupt) and we sought his continued guidance and encouragement. We were favoured too to celebrate Mass near the bed on which Pier Giorgio died at the family home in Pollone, north-east of Turin.
Another great spiritual connection with Pier Giorgio was to stay at the Marian shrine of Oropa, where the saintly young man would attend Mass daily while staying at Pollone and recite the Rosary on his forty-five minute run home.
In Rome, we saw the Holy Father at a general audience and visited the holy places of the Eternal City. Just as exciting was to meet Wanda Gawronski, the niece of Bl Pier Giorgio, who gave us her blessing on our work. We hope to make this pilgrimage a regular feature of the life of Frassati Australia.
We look forward to continuing to bring young men to know Jesus Christ and His Church through the example of this amazing young man, the Man of the Beatitudes.
Verso L'Alto: "If you have God at the centre of all your action, then you will reach your goal" (Bl Pier Giorgio).
Fr Paul Chandler PP is the Spiritual Director of Frassati Australia: email, pwchandler @me.com; website, www.frassatiaustralia.org