Bishop John Wilson celebrated Mass to mark the 93rd anniversary of the death of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati at St Patrick Soho on Wednesday 4th July. The Mass was one of the events in a day-long celebration of the life of Bl Pier Giorgio.
Bl Pier Giorgio's niece Wanda Gawronska, who shared her memories of her uncle, and Christine Wohar, Director of Frassati USA, were both in attendance for the celebrations, with Bishop John and Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth delivering talks about the Italian Roman Catholic social activist and member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, whose relics were venerated on the day.
In his talk Bishop John gave his personal experience of a bond that he formed with Pier Giorgio back in June 1995, when he noticed that Bl Pier Giorgio died on the same date as he, Bishop John, himself was born.
Bishop John spoke at length about the sign that Pier Giorgio can be to every Christian, discussing his dedication to the poor, his political activity, the work he did with charity and his commitment to help those with a poverty of unbelief.
He finished his talk by putting great emphasis on Pier Giorgio’s life and death; a true living out of the Christian mission:
'There is a quotation that says "Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." As a supreme witness to the Gospel, in love with Jesus, Pier Giorgio did more.
'By his living and dying he became bread for others, as Christ, his risen Lord, was the Bread of Eternal Life for him.'
Having died in 1925, his cause for canonisation was opened in 1932 after the poor, whom he had helped in Turin, sought recognition for his work. Unfortunately, in 1941 Pope Pius XII was required to suspend the cause due to a range of allegations against him which were later proved false, and the cause could resume.
Pope St John Paul II beatified Frassati in May 1990 and dubbed him the 'Man of the Eight Beatitudes'.
The day also included time for Adoration, the recitation of the Rosary and opportunities for Confession.
Additional photos are available here.