Frank Parater for Virginia

Frank Parater Seminarian





Silent martyr for all souls of Virginia, pray for us.

Excerpt from The Servant of God: Frank Parater, Seminarian
by the Rev. J. Scott Duarte

Frank Parater was born on October 10, 1897, in Richmond, Virginia, ten days after the death of Saint Therese, the Little Flower, who would prove important in Frank’s spiritual life.  His father, Francis Joseph Parater, Sr., was a Catholic of Portuguese ancestry, and his mother, Mary Raymond, was a former Anglican communicant at St. John’s Episcopal Church and a convert to Catholicism.  That marriage was his father’s second.  His first wife was Elizabeth Miller who bore him five children, three of whom survived infancy and grew to adulthood.  The eldest son of this first marriage, also named Francis, died in 1887 at the age of twenty-seven, just a few months before the birth of our Servant of God, who was again named Francis Joseph Parater, Jr.

Mr. and Master ParaterWhen Elizabeth was ill and learned she was going to die, it is said that she expressed the hope that her husband would remarry, and even suggested Mary Raymond as the person best suited to raise her children.  Eleven children were born to this second marriage, but only three survived infancy, Marie, Grace, and Frank, who was the youngest.  His sisters were of great importance to him, especially Marie who was his confidant and who later became instrumental in preserving his letters, journals and other documents and personal effects.

Frank was named for his patron saint, Francis DeSales, founder of the Sisters of the Visitation whose monastery was just three blocks from the modest Parater home.  Their house faced JeffersonFrank Parater Altar Boy Park, where Francis Parater, Sr. was the groundskeeper, a work that he voluntarily extended to the grounds of the nearby monastery. Frank’s father was highly regarded in the city and once was appointed a term on the City Council.  This proximity to the Visitation Monastery, Monte Maria, also permitted the Parater family to hear the bells that regulated the life of the Sisters, announced the Angelus, and called the faithful to the 6:40 a.m. Mass.  From his first Holy Communion as a boy, Frank faithfully served that Mass until the time that he left home for college, though he also served Mass at his parish church of St. Patrick’s.  Above the Monastery chapel’s Frank Parater Studentaltar was the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that became a symbol for him of the tremendous love that Jesus has for all people.  Frank grew in his devotion and wrote, “Remember the Sacred Heart never fails those that love Him.”

His neighborhood, still known as “Church Hill,” was densely populated, family centered, and marked by a spirit of ecumenical cooperation.  Many of the students at the Sisters’ school were Protestants, and as a youth, Frank joined the newly established Scouting movement that met at a local Methodist Episcopal church.  He was well known to the Rector of his mother’s former parish, St. John’s Episcopal Church, itself famous as the site of Patrick Henry’s speech, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  After Frank’s early death, its Rector energetically praised his virtues.

Frank Parater GraduateA warm and loving family introduced Frank to a loving God and gave him confidence in himself to overcome the physical limitations of his small stature and to pursue goals that others would have considered beyond their reach.  The world was a fascinating place for Frank Parater.  He became a collector of sheet music, of post cards, of stamps, and of autographs, writing many notable figures of the time, including several European monarchs, for their autographs and collecting the stamps from their replies!  He began a practice of keeping a record of his activities and his thoughts, compiling, for instance, a list of the books that he read.  In one year, it amounted to over three hundred titles, many drawn from the classics and poetry.  He would often quote from such works in his journals and speeches.

Frank Parater Boy ScoutIn the Scouts and in high school, he acted in various plays and was sought after as a speaker at public events.  Frank was valedictorian of his primary school, his high school, and ultimately at Belmont Abbey College Seminary.  In a vigorous debate during high school, Frank argued convincingly for the rights, dignity and innate value of the black man against opponents who argued for the continued segregation or even the re-enslavement of blacks.  He carried on copious correspondence with friends, and after leaving home for college, he wrote his family faithfully.  His correspondence reveals his personality and his spirituality, just as it provides insight into his family’s life and his own experiences. From his personal journals we can also see his personal sacrifices to help others, in spite of a meager income.

These same journals convey Frank Parater’s missionary zeal to serve the Church in Virginia and his support for the new organization known as the Boy Scouts of America. His answer to the question, “Why am I a Scout” is to be found in this passage from his writings:

We, Catholics, are selfish.  With our Divine Religion and all its wonderful aids for leading a pure and holy life, not to mention our character developing parochial schools and Christian motherhood exemplified in our Catholic mothers…but what of the non-Catholic lad or the son of indifferent parents?  Should we not help them?  Think of what it would mean if the 8,000,000 boys in America were taught ‘To do their duty to God, their country, and to obey the scout law: to help other people at all times, to keep themselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.’  No!  It would not make angels of them – we don’t want them angels.  It would not abolish the flagrant abuses that we witness on all sides.  But it would lessen these evils; it would make our Catholic boys better Catholics; it would teach the non-Catholic true Catholic principles of morality; it would produce better men, true patriots and real citizens; it would lead our boys to something higher than mere accumulation of riches or the desire for fame.

Frank enrolled in the Scouting movement on January 19, 1914.  Advancing quickly through the ranks, by 1916 he was an assistant scout master, the scribe of Troop 32, and the official photographer of the Richmond Council.  He served as camp director in Richmond and during the summer of 1916 was the first camp director of the newly-founded Camp Ackerman in Plainfield, New Jersey.  In the camps he ran, he introduced a half hour of prayer in the evening schedule, consisting of a chapter of Sacred Scripture, a talk by the director and the recitation of the “Our Father” followed by silent prayer.  His efficiency and organizational skills are noted in newspaper accounts.

VIRGINIA SEMINARIAN FRANK PARATERAs he graduated from primary school, Frank began thinking about the priesthood.  He was worried that he could not pronounce Latin well enough to be a priest.  When he was only fourteen years old, he began to correspond with Walter Nott, then a Richmond diocesan seminarian at St. Charles College in Catonsville, Maryland, and eventually an alumnus of the North American College, about his desire to be a priest.  Nott allayed his fears, encouraged him to pursue his priestly vocation, study Latin, develop skills necessary for public speaking and stick to his high ideals, despite the efforts of some in Scouting and among his friends to dissuade him from his calling.

Frank possessed marvelous talents and gifts.  These were crowned with a purity of heart and a missionary zeal that would ultimately find expression in his act of oblation that may be found in the Pontifical North American College’s Manual of Prayers.  In this stirring document of self-offering, Frank declares that:

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.  I have offered my all for the conversion of non-Catholics…This is what I live for and in case of death what I die for.

The spiritual conversion of others is what he died for – and what he lived for.  That, among his many other virtues, is a desire worthy of imitation by Frank Parater’s successors at the North American College today.

Excerpt from the American College in Rome
by Robert McNamara, pp. 467-470:

At the North American College, as at all Catholic seminaries, the piety of the students exceeds – it goes without saying – the piety of the average layman. Among such pious students as these, there will always be a small percentage whose spirituality can be called really unusual; and in this group there will appear, from time to time, a person whose holiness tends to the heroic.

Frank Parater certainly belonged to this latter class. Born in Richmond, Virginia, on October 10, 1897, he had received his early education first under the Xaverian Brothers and then under the Benedictine Fathers who conducted Benedictine High School in Richmond. Though not by disposition an athlete, Frank was none the less an “outdoors man,” and became very much interested in Scouting, as a moral and religious apostolate especially well adapted to spreading and maintaining a staunch Catholicism in the South. It was this apostolic interest of his, in fact, which prompted him to enter the seminary at Belmont Abbey, North Carolina, as a candidate for the priesthood.

Frank Parater at St. Peter'sIn 1919, the Bishop of Richmond decided to send him to Rome to complete his studies. He was officially enrolled in the roster of the American College on November 25th. Here those same qualities of cheerfulness, optimism and manliness which had made him loved wherever he had been, soon endeared him to his new companions. But it was not long before the Collegians detected beneath his cheerful exterior manner, a tremendous earnestness. Even when he won the “Epiphany bean” in January 1920, and was therefore crowned King of the Revels, he surprised all by the masterly way in which he presided over the festivities. His new schoolmates also sensed his strong piety. Not that he affected devout singularities: he was careful to avoid anything of the sort. But every now and again he would make some remark which was as deep as it was spiritual. Often, for instance, he would speak joyfully about the glory of living in a city hallowed by the blood of martyrs, and of the great privilege it would be to die and be buried in such holy ground.

Frank Parater Death BedIn late January 1920, Parater suddenly fell ill, apparently of acute rheumatism, and was advised to go to bed. But the malady, far from yielding to rest, quickly developed into rheumatic fever which brought with it tremendous suffering. So delirious did the pain make him that it often took more than one man to hold him in his bed. Removed to the hospital of the Blue Nuns on January 27th, he continued, in his delirium, to preach sermons to an imaginary congregation. Finally he recovered from this mental confusion, but his physical condition was by then desperate.

It fell to the lot of Father Mahoney to explain to Frank that his illness was serious and possibly fatal. Parater said he was aware of that, and was not afraid to die. When he was about to receive Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum, he wished to get out of bed and kneel; but having been told he should not do so, he was content to kneel on the bed itself. Death came not long after, on February 7th, which was the first Saturday of the month. His passing brought great sorrow, not only to his fellow Collegians, but also to other seminarians at the Urban College who had made his acquaintance and taken an immediate liking to him. The American College men kept vigil at his wake. Monsignor O’Hern sang the Mass of Requiem, and the whole student body followed the hearse on foot to the Campo Santo. Here he was entombed in the College mortuary chapel, which stood in that same perennial burial ground in which St. Stephen, St. Lawrence, and hundreds of other early Christians had, in their own time, been laid to rest.

VIRGINIA SEMINARIAN FRANK PARATERFrank’s painful illness and premature death had a depressing effect upon his fellow-students. But not for long. On the very day he died, Francis Byrne, another Richmond seminarian, while searching for Parater’s passport, came upon a paper labeled “My Last Will.” The dead seminarian had written it almost seven weeks before, while he was still in excellent health; and he had sealed it in an envelope marked: “To be opened only in case of my death.” Byrne, seeing at once that this little document – a spiritual rather than a financial testament – was something extraordinary, straightway delivered it to the Rector. O’Hern, equally impressed and deeply moved, read it to the Collegians assembled in chapel:

Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(marked to be read only in the event of his death in Rome)

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 conversions to God of non-Catholics in Virginia. This is what I live for and, in the case of death, what I die for. Death is not unpleasant to me, but the most beautiful and welcome event of life. Death is the messenger of God come to tell us that our novitiate is ended and to welcome us to the real life. Melancholic or morbid sentimentality is not the cause of my writing this, for I love my life here, the College, the men and Rome itself. But I have desired to die and be buried with the saints. I dare not ask God to take me lest I should be ungrateful or be trying to shirk the higher responsibilities of life; but I shall never have less to answer for – perhaps never be better ready to meet my Maker, my God, my All.

Since I was a child I have desired to die for the love of God and for my fellow-man. Whether or not I shall receive that favor I know not but if I live, it is for the same purpose; every action of my life here is offered to God for the spread and success of the Catholic Church in Virginia. I have always desired to be only a little child, that I may enter the kingdom of God. In the general resurrection I wish to always be a boy and to be permitted to accompany Saints John Berchmans, Aloysius and Stanislaus as their servant and friend. Do we serve God and man less worthily by our prayers in heaven than by our actions on earth? Surely it is not selfish to desire to be with Him Who has loved us so well.

I shall not leave my dear ones. I will always be near them and be able to help them more than I can here below. I shall be of more service to my diocese in heaven than I could ever be on earth.

If it is God’s holy will, I will join Him on Good Friday, 1920, and never leave Him more – but not my will, Father, but Thine be done!

Rome, December 5th, 1919

Frank Parater

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Who is human?

Why My Support for Abortion Was Based on Love… and Lies

Jennifer FulwilerFrom my own experience, I knew how the Greeks, the Romans, and people in every other society could put themselves into a mental state that they could leave a newborn child to die: The very real pressures of life — “we can’t afford another baby,” “there’s no dowry for another girl,” “this disability would overwhelm us” — left them susceptible to that oldest of temptations: To dehumanize other human beings.

Read the rest of Jennifer Fulwiler‘s piece at National Catholic Register.

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Littlemore Tracts

                Christ the Universal King of Creation 2012

The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

    Today is final Sunday of the liturgical year and the solemn feast of Christ The King. It is the culmination of the Church’s faith in, and praise of, Christ Our Lord. Today we honor and praise Jesus Christ as the King of all Creation whose dominion is universal and everlasting. No doubt, this title of Christ may sound very odd to non-Christians, and perhaps even to many Christians today living in democratic societies. But we nonetheless confess that Jesus Christ is, in fact, the only true King of divine right in the strictest sense, for his kingship comes ultimately and directly from the divine will, and…

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That is [not] a fact.

Vice President Biden apparently skipped the course in logic or missed the third grade lesson in truth-telling or both…


WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12.  Full text follows: 

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate. 

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”:

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Read the Catechism in a Year

The little man thinks we can do this. 


Click on the image or visit

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Year of Faith opening & Vatican II anniversary

(Vatican Radio) On Thursday Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass marking the 50th anniversary of the Opening of the Second Vatican Council and launching the Year of Faith.
Click for the full text of the Holy Father’s Homily.

(l’Osservatore Romano) Pope’s article on insider’s view of Vatican II.
Click to read “It was a splendid day”.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict remarks at Wednesday Audience on today’s anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Click to read the transcript.

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St. Matthew, apostle, evangelist & martyr

The Calling of Saint Matthew (Caravaggio, 1599-1600)

The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (Caravaggio, 1602)

The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (Caravaggio, 1600)



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the forbidden fruit: tomato?

As reported three days later by NOW Lebanon, since June 9 a Facebook page belonging to the “Popular Egyptian Islamic Association” has been admonishing it readers to stop eating tomatoes:


Prohibition of eating tomatoes because it is Christian, glorifying the Cross and witnessing that God is three.

I implore you in the name of God to publish this, because there is a girl from Palestine who saw the Messenger [Mohamed] in a vision. He was crying and warned his nation against eating it.

And if you do not publish it, you must know that the devil has prevented you.

Farmers of the forbidden fruit frightened of fomenting a frenzied fury from among the five thousand Facebook friends found fortune in the follow-up. Jihad Watch reported shortly thereafter that the PEIA clarified later that tomatoes were not forbidden as much cutting them horizontally across the middle was to be avoided.

Just in case, you better send this around anyway.

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Chaput’s Choice for (inter alia) Catholic Campaign for Human Development

Jonathan Reyes
President and CEO of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Denver (2009-2012)
Founder of “Christ in the City”
Founding President, The Augustine Institute (2005-2008)
Vice President for Campus Ministry and Leadership Formation, FOCUS (2004-2005)
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Christendom College (1998-2004)
Assistant Professor of History, Christendom College (1996-1998)
Ph.D. in European History, University of Notre Dame (2000)
B.A. in History, University of Michigan (1990)

husband of Stephanie
father seven times over

US bishops tap Denver Catholic Charities CEO as justice department head

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2012 / 03:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- President and CEO of Denver Catholic Charities, Dr. Jonathan Reyes, is honored to accept his new role as executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

“Although I am sad to leave Catholic Charities and the community of northern Colorado, I am excited and honored by the opportunity to serve the Church in this capacity,” he said in a Sept. 17 statement.

Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, the U.S. bishops conference’s general secretary, made the appointment, which was announced Sept. 17.

“Jonathan Reyes brings vital experience with on-the-ground charities work and with young adults and is a proven administrator,” Msgr. Jenkins said.

In December, Dr. Reyes will begin his new role with the USCCB, overseeing their efforts in domestic and international affairs and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the bishops’ anti-poverty program.

“I look forward to working with the excellent staff of the USCCB,” Dr. Reyes said.

Since 2009, Dr. Reyes has served the Denver Archdiocese as president and CEO of Denver Catholic Charities.

During his time with Catholic Charities, Dr. Reyes founded national volunteer and formation program for college students, Christ in the City. Now in its third year, the organization has seen over 200 participants serve the homeless of Denver while developing in their Catholic faith.

In that time, he oversaw the creation of Regina Caeli Catholic Counseling Center, which recently opened a second office due to growing request for Church-friendly mental health services.

Additionally, Dr. Reyes supervised the founding of Lighthouse Women’s Care Center in Denver and completed the Guadalupe Community Assistance Center in Greeley, Colo.

Along with his role at Catholic Charities, Dr. Reyes co-founded and was the first president of Denver-based Catholic theological graduate school, the Augustine Institute, from 2005-2008.

From 2004-2005, he was vice president for campus ministry and leadership formation of the team-based evangelization program aimed toward students on college campuses, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in Denver.

Dr. Reyes has served on the staff of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. as an assistant professor of history and later as vice president of academic affairs from 1998-2004.

In 2000, he received a doctorate in European history from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1990.

Dr. Reyes and his wife Stephanie have seven children.

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St. Robert Bellarmine, doctor of the church

Born 4 October 1542 in Montepulciano
Entered the Society of Jesus 20 September 1560
Spiritual Father of St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1588-1591)
Created a Cardinal 1599
Represented the Holy Father in disputes with inter alia:
the King of France,
the Republic of Venice,
the King of England and
Died 17 September 1621 in Rome
and buried in the tomb next to St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Canonized 1930
Declared a Doctor of the Universal Church 1931

Authored among other things:
Disputationes de controversiis christianae fidei (1581-1593)
    De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis (1613)
De ascensione mentis in Deum per scalas rerum creatorum opusculum (1614)
published in English as Jacob’s Ladder (1638)
    The Eternal Happiness of the Saints (1616)
The Seven Words on the Cross (1618)
    The Art of Dying Well (1619)

Read his biography in the Catholic Encyclopedia on

Read this excerpt in today’s Office of Readings:

From a treatise On the Ascent of the Mind to God by Saint Robert Bellarmine
(Ante exsilium, nn 1-3: PG 52, 427*-430)

Incline my heart to your decrees

Sweet Lord, you are meek and merciful. Who would not give himself wholeheartedly to your service, if he began to taste even a little of your fatherly rule? What command, Lord, do you give your servants? Take my yoke upon you, you say. And what is this yoke of yours like? My yoke, you say, is easy and my burden light. Who would not be glad to bear a yoke that does not press hard but caresses? Who would not be glad for a burden that does not weigh heavy but refreshes? And so you were right to add: And you will find rest for your souls. And what is this yoke of yours that does not weary, but gives rest? It is, of course, that first and greatest commandment: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. What is easier, sweeter, more pleasant, than to love goodness, beauty and love, the fullness of which you are, O Lord, my God?

Is it not true that you promise those who keep your commandments a reward more desirable than great wealth and sweeter than honey? You promise a most abundant reward, for as your apostle James says: The Lord has prepared a crown of life for those who love him. What is this crown of life? It is surely a greater good than we can conceive of or desire, as Saint Paul says, quoting Isaiah: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.

Truly then the recompense is great for those who keep your commandments. That first and greatest commandment helps the man who obeys, not the God who commands. In addition, the other commandments of God perfect the man who obeys them. They provide him with what he needs. They instruct and enlighten him and make him good and blessed. If you are wise, then, know that you have been created for the glory of God and your own eternal salvation. This is your goal; this is the center of your life; this is the treasure of your heart. If you reach this goal, you will find happiness. If you fail to reach it, you will find misery.

May you consider truly good whatever leads to your goal and truly evil whatever makes you fall away from it. Prosperity and adversity, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honors and humiliations, life and death, in the mind of the wise man, are not to be sought for their own sake, nor avoided for their own sake. But if they contribute to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, then they are good and should be sought. If they detract from this, they are evil and must be avoided.

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