Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Frank Parater: an Eagle Scout on the road to sainthood
by Deacon Dan Glatt, for the Inland Register
(From the January 17, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)
Francis Joseph “Frank” Parater earned his Eagle award as a Boy Scout before beginning studies for the priesthood. (IR photo courtesy of the Catholic Committee on Scouting)
Scout Sunday is Feb. 3. Scouts are encouraged to wear their uniforms to Mass that weekend. “A Scout is reverent” is one of the four basic characteristics of a Scout. In the spirit of Scout Sunday I would like to introduce to you a scout that someday could be one of the patron saints of Scouting.
Francis Joseph “Frank” Parater is not a household name or maybe someone you know anything about. He was born in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 10, 1897. He grew up in Richmond and was a server at Masses for the Visitation Sisters. In 1917 he graduated from Benedictine High School in Richmond. He was class valedictorian.
In his late teens, Frank became very active in the Boy Scouts of America. His involvement was so exemplary that he was asked to serve in roles of leadership even at his young age. Although small in stature, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. At a time when the Catholic Faith was not considered to be a social asset, Frank was well thought of by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In fact, newspaper accounts note his achievements, his natural talents, and his gifts of heart and mind.
In 1917, Frank began studies for priesthood at Belmont Abbey Seminary College in North Carolina. He continued to lead a very devout life as is detailed in the journal he kept while there. His stated goal was “To strive by every possible means to become a pure and worthy priest.” During the summers while at Belmont Seminary College, he was active in the Knights of Columbus’s summer wartime activities for youth and was director of the summer camp for the Boy Scouts of America. The leaders of the Scouts saw such virtue and ideals in Frank that they wanted him to serve as a summer camp director supervising those who were his seniors. He was considered a “four-ply scout,” exceptional in every way.
Frank’s desire to serve the people of Virginia confirmed his desire to continue to study to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Richmond. In the fall of 1919 Frank was sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was popular among his peers, displayed a warm sense of humor and cheer to all, and continued to deepen his spiritual life.
In December he wrote an “Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” which was sealed and marked to be read only in event of his death in Rome. Frank also wrote an “Open Letter to the Scouts of Richmond,” marked in a similar manner. Both documents were both discovered on Feb. 7, 1920, upon his death in Rome from rheumatic fever. The fatal illness had caused him tremendous suffering.
He was buried in the College Mausoleum at Campo Verano. Two popes have asked for copies of his “Act of Oblation,” and it has been published in English and in Italian in the papal newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Frank’s “Act of Oblation” read: “I have nothing to leave or to give but my life and this I have consecrated to the Sacred Heart to be used as He wills ... This is what I live for and in case of death what I die for.… Since my childhood, I have wanted to die for God and my neighbor. Shall I have this grace? I do not know, but if I go on living, I shall live for this same purpose; every action of my life here is offered to God for the spread and success of the Catholic Church in Virginia.… I shall be of more service to my diocese in Heaven than I can ever be on earth.”
On Jan. 24, 2002, Richmond’s Bishop Walter Sullivan declared Francis Joseph Parater III a Servant of God, the first step in Frank’s process to sainthood.
Frank was and is a model for Scouting, a man of character and steadfast in his faith. Living in a time when it was not “cool to be Catholic,” Frank demonstrated his character through leadership and service.
The Spokane Diocese’s Committee on Catholic Scouting is being formed to work throughout Eastern Washington to promote opportunities for Scouts to grow in leadership and service as they live out their faith. There is still a need for volunteers to make the Committee on Catholic Scouting a reality, both in the leadership of the committee and in subcommittees that are being formed.
If you are interested in participating or learning more about the committee, the first meeting will be Jan. 26 at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, 3227 E. 34th Ave in Spokane, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Deacon Roy Harrington from Seattle and the Region XII representative to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting will be our facilitators for the day. Deacon Roy will also be presenting information on the Catholic Girl Scout Awards and information on the Heritage Girls. For information call me at 509-747-7213 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you plan to attend the committee meeting, please send me your RSVP so you can have the agenda and we can plan for lunch.
Learn more about Frank Parater at www.frankparater.org.
(Deacon Glatt is the chairman/chaplain of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting.)
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