Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Nearly a century later, Frank Parater – seminarian, Eagle Scout – leads by example
by Deacon Dan Glatt, for the Inland Register
(From the February 18, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
The cause for canonization is underway for Frank Parater, a dedicated Boy Scout with the rank of Eagle, as well as a seminarian for the Diocese of Richmond, Va. (IR file photo)
February 7 was Boy Scout Sunday this year. Boy Scouts celebrated the founding of their organization by Lord Baden Powell more than a century ago, in 1910.
Over the past 100-plus years, many young boys became Scouts, and many of those Scouts rose to the rank of Eagle Scout. Among those was a Catholic Scout from Richmond, Va., who has been introduced to the path to sainthood: Frank Parater, who was both an Eagle Scout and a seminarian.
Francis Joseph (Frank) Parater was born Oct. 10, 1897 in Richmond, Va. Part of a devout Catholic family, Frank was an altar boy for daily Mass. He attended the Xaverian Brothers School (now St. Patrick School) and Benedictine High School in Richmond.
He was also an active Boy Scout. Although he was small in stature, physically, Frank eventually earned Eagle rank and the respect of the community. Contemporary newspaper accounts note his achievements, his natural talents, and his gifts of mind and heart.
In 1917, Frank began his studies for the priesthood at Belmont Seminary College in North Carolina. He lived a devout life, which he detailed in a journal he kept at Belmont. His wrote that his goal was “to strive by every possible means to become a pure and worthy priest, acting truly as Alter Christus (“in the person of Christ”). During this period of his life, Frank drew up for himself a “Rule of Life” which included daily Mass, daily recitation of the Rosary, and weekly Confession. He had an abiding sense that “the Sacred Heart never fails those who love him.”
In 1919 Richmond’s Bishop Denis J. O’Connell sent Frank to study at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. In the short time he was there, he was known as an exemplary seminarian.
In Rome in December 1919, Frank Parater wrote an “Act of Oblation” to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Rome to be read only in the event of his death:
“I have nothing to leave or give but my life and this I have consecrated to the Sacred Heart to be used as He wills. I have offered my all for the conversion of non-Catholics in Virginia. This is what I live for and in case of my death what I die for. Since my childhood, I wanted to die for God and my neighbor. But if I go on living, every action of my life here is offered to God for the spread and the success of the Catholic Church of Virginia. I shall be of more service to my diocese in heaven than I can ever be here on earth.”
But in January of 1920, Frank Parater developed rheumatic fever and died Feb. 7, 1920.
His vocational choice to study for the priesthood, his journey to Rome, his untimely death, and his Last Will and Testament received wide coverage beyond which one might expect.
In 2001, proceedings began in Richmond for the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God, Frank Parater, Seminarian. In 2002, Bishop Walter Sullivan of Richmond formally began the process.
Frank Parater took his faith seriously, from his time in Scouting through his time in the seminary. The Diocesan Committee for Catholic Scouting encourages all scouts to see this young scout as an inspirational model for your own life.
Servant of God Frank Parater, pray for all Scouts.
(Deacon Glatt is chaplain of the Diocesan Committee for Catholic Scouting.)
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