Pope confirms Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati will be canonized ‘soon’

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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
Images of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati appear beside and on his tomb at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin, Italy, in this file photo from February 2006. (CNS file photo/Carol Glatz)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said that Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati “will be a saint soon.”

Known as “the Man of the Eight Beatitudes,” he was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1990 after his sainthood cause was launched in 1932. The Polish pope had said the young blessed, who died at the age of 24 in 1925, had served as “a beneficial influence” on him during his youth in Poland and that as a student he “was impressed by the force of his Christian testimony.”

Example of charitable action

He told the group how beautiful it was for older generations to hand down their faith through concrete charitable action.

Pope Francis recalled the Italian blessed’s example during a meeting June 24 at the Vatican with volunteers of the Circolo San Pietro, an organization founded in 1869 to support papal charities in Rome.

“Think of how much richness of lived faith, of concrete charity, of love for the poor that can be passed down by an elder person’s example. And think of how much energy, how much creativity, how much impetus a young person can give,” he said.

Young and energetic faith

“I am reminded of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati — soon to be a saint — who went to the homes of the poor in Turin to bring help,” the pope said.

Even though he was from “a well-to-do, upper middle-class family,” he did not grow up sheltered and protected from the real world and he did not “lose himself living the high life because the vitality of the Holy Spirit was in him, there was love for Jesus and for his brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said.

While the pope did not offer a date or any other details about the expected canonization, he reinforced recent remarks by Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.

Frassati’s commitment to social reform

The cardinal spoke at the 18th national assembly of the Italian Catholic Action in Sacrofano, 16 miles north of Rome, April 26. Blessed Frassati was active in Catholic Action and the Popular Party, which promoted the church’s social teaching. He once said, “Charity is not enough; we need social reform.”

“I would like to tell you that the canonization of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is now clear on the horizon and looks to be (possible) for the next jubilee year,” said the cardinal, who was interrupted by a long applause, according to Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference.

Model of Christian life

The cardinal said the blessed was a “marvelous model of Christian life,” and he quoted St. John Paul who saw him as a young man “immersed in the mystery of God and dedicated to the constant service of his neighbor.”

The young man defended the faith through his generous charity to the marginalized, the cardinal said. Blessed Frassati joined the St. Vincent de Paul Society at the age of 19 to help those in need and at 21 he joined the Third Order Dominicans, a lay order.

Carol Glatz

Carol Glatz writes for Catholic News Service.