Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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Ministry > Servant of God, Francis J. Parater

Bishop of Richmond

Father J. Scott Duarte, J.C.D, Postulator of the Cause of Francis J. Parater, III, has formally petitioned me to declare this son of the Church of Richmond a Servant of God and to establish a Tribunal to examine his reputation of holiness and heroic virtue.

Frank Parater was born on October 10, 1897 in Richmond, Virginia, baptized at Saint Patrick’s Church, and educated in Richmond’s Catholic Schools. One of the first Boy Scouts in Richmond, he was known for his ideals and practical judgment. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and was selected for Scout leadership. While attending Belmont Abbey College Seminary in North Carolina, he decided to study to become a priest for the Diocese of Richmond. He was assigned by Bishop Denis J. O’Connell to study at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He arrived there on November 25, 1919. A popular student, he continued to deepen his spiritual life, writing in December an Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Frank came down with an illness causing him tremendous suffering and was taken to the hospital of the Blue Nuns on January 27, 1920. Knowing his illness was grave, he received the Last Sacraments of the Church. With devotion and unafraid of death, he died on February 7, 1920, and was buried in the mausoleum of the college.

After his death, his Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was discovered. He wrote, “I shall be of more service to my diocese in Heaven than I can ever be on earth.”

Pope Benedict XV asked for a copy of the Act of Oblation, and it was published both in the L ‘Osservatore Romano and the Richmond newspapers. Pope Pius XI requested a copy be made for his own edification. Through the years the memory of Frank Parater’s virtue and holiness has been treasured not only by those who knew him but also by others who have heard of him. Bishop Denis J. O’Connell praised him as a model of spirituality for our people. My immediate predecessor, Bishop John J. Russell named a diocesan youth camp for him in the 1960’s.

All people are called to holiness. Frank Parater serves as a model for people of every age and walk of life. His example of service and total dedication to God, even at a young age, serves as an inspiration of wholehearted service for one’s neighbor. Frank’s example of faith is a model for seminarians who seek to answer God’s call to serve as priests.

Since Frank Parater died in Rome, I requested permission from His Eminence, Camillo Cardinal Ruini, Vicar of His Holiness for Rome, to instruct this case, and it was readily granted on February 1,2001. His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, granted permission for me to proceed on May 4, 2001 ,and granted the nihil obstat of the Holy See on May 8, 2001.

Having consulted my brother bishops of the province of Baltimore and the bishops of our ecclesiastical region of the United States, I, Walter Francis Sullivan, do hereby declare Francis Joseph Parater III a Servant of God and decree the establishment of a Tribunal to examine the reputation for sanctity and heroic virtues of Servant of God Frank Parater, Seminarian.

The Tribunal is to follow the rules and procedure as found in the canons, the norms of Pope Urban VIII and our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. The Christian Faithful and all people of good will are earnestly requested to bring to the attention of the Postulator any writings of the Servant of God or historical findings that would assist the Tribunal in its work.

Given in Richmond this the 24th day of January in the year of our Lord 2002.

Bishop of Richmond