Frassati Australia: dedicated young adult ministry

Frassati Australia: dedicated young adult ministry

Br Barry Coldrey

In 2011, Fr Paul Chandler and five young Brisbane Catholic men founded Frassati Australia, as another exciting arm of Australian young adult Catholic ministry. Frassati Australia has a focus on young men and is inspired by the life and work of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.

Some members live and create community together in Frassati Houses, seeking to live their Catholic faith in an authentic and sacramental way, mindful always of the leadership of the Holy Father and the teachings of the Church and seeking together to engage other young men to experience the truth and freedom of the Catholic faith.

Others associate themselves with Frassati activities without living in Frassati Houses.

The five founders, Nathan Costin, Abe Hewitt, David Hood, David Powick and James Roe had all been involved in recent National Evangelisation Teams (NET) and saw the great need among young men for the Catholic faith and the truth and meaning it generates in life.

In 2009, Brisbane born and educated, Nathan Costin served on a NET team based in Melbourne.

He spoke at many secondary colleges and parish groups and ran retreats and Encounter Days for young Victorians.

By 2011, Nathan was back in Brisbane as Campus Minister at St Columban's College, Caboolture, and helped to pioneer Frassati Australia as an engaging ministry for young men focusing primarily on their masculine identity and sexuality in the light of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

On the other hand, David Powick is a New Zealander and after secondary school was educated at the Polytechnic Institute of Technology in Christchurch.

He graduated as an architectural draughtsman. Meanwhile, he was drawn to spend a year with a NET team and moved to Brisbane where he works as Gift Manager in the Resource Development Department of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Another founder, New Zealand-born Abe Hewitt,  finished his apprenticeship as an electrician and now has his own business operating in Brisbane.

Father Paul Chandler introduced the five founders to the life of Pier Giorgio Frassati and his life story made a deep impression on their lives, which challenged them to live a more authentic Catholic life.

Nathan has written: "I first encountered Pier Giorgio in 2011, and I was just really blown away by his witness and his testimony, and just seeing a young guy who is able to live life to the full, live out his faith, but at the same time bring all his friends along with him."

Detail's of Pier Giorgio Frassati(1901-25)  and his remarkable young life can be found in previous articles on Frassati Australia in the September and October 2013 editions.

By 2012, two years after their foundation, Frassati Australia experienced an explosion of activity and possibilities as Archbishop Mark Coleridge, alive to the blessings that the Frassati Houses could bring, gave their work his blessing and encouraged the men to continue what they were doing.

At the centre of Frassati Australia are the young men who live in the Houses.

In 2014, there are three, two houses in Annerley parish, where their Spiritual Director Father Paul Chandler lives, and one in the adjacent Salisbury parish.

There are 14 men in these three houses and each commits to the following: Sunday Mass and at least one additional Mass per week; monthly reception of the Sacrament of Penance daily personal prayer; regular community prayer in each house; spiritual reading and spiritual direction; works of charity; regular Eucharistic adoration; and attendance at Frassati events.

In addition a Frassati House has begun in Melbourne under the guidance of Fr David Cartwright and there is interest coming from Sydney and Hobart.

Along with the residents, other young men form  Milites Mariae, the core group of around twenty.

The name derives 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 talk from the Chaplain and Compline.

The men also serve regularly at the altar in their parishes in both forms of the Mass, the  Novus Ordo and the Extraordinary Form, the Latin Mass.

In addition, the core group with a wider network of both women and men, come together each Monday evening at Mary Immaculate (Parish) Church for  Verso L'Alto meetings.

These Monday nights always commence with Mass followed by supper and then a talk either as catechesis or personal formation.  Verso L'Alto evenings draw from 30 to 60 young adults.

In addition, Frassati Australia engages in evangelisation through distribution of Lighthouse Catholic Media and Parousia Media materials.

In the background, the Frassati men are guided by a committee of advisors who act as mentors to the young men.

The advisors are mature, committed Catholic men, all of whom have extensive professional and financial experience.

In 2015, an Oratory of St Philip Neri is due to open a house in Brisbane. Father Paul Chandler will be a member of this community and the continued growth of Frassati Australia will be furthered and strengthened under the care of the Brisbane Oratory.

Contact Details: Fr Paul Chandler, Spiritual Director, PO Box 3131, Tarragindi, Qld 4121. Website:; email: Facebook: Frassati Verso L'Alto – Monday nights

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