Young people who will be in Sydney for World Youth Day 2008 will be able to venerate the relics of Pier Giorgio Frassati, one of the ten patron saints of the event, at the city’s Cathedral, according to a report by SIR news agency.
The relics are being brought to Australia at the request of Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney. “The idea therefore came from the organizational committee of WYD and therefore we are very happy,” sources told SIR.
The coffin containing his remains will be exposed in the Cathedral in a special area surrounded by the four flowery panels painted by the Bl. Pier Giorgio’s mother and that are normally present at his tomb at the Cathedral of Turin.
“The request to have the mortal remains of Pier Giorgio Frassati was not only for WYD but also so that beginning June 15 young people in Australia could learn about and venerate the Italian blessed,” SIR explained.
Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Turin, Italy, on April 6, 1901. He was raised in a very rich Catholic family. His father was the founder and director of the newspaper La Stampa, which often promoted ideas contrary to the Catholic Church, and his mother was a devout painter.
During his adolescence he cultivated a profound spiritual life and became an active member of Catholic Action, the apostolate of payer, the Eucharistic League and the Association of University Student Adorers.
He decided to study mechanical engineering in order to be close to poor workers and entered the Politecnico University of Turin where he founded a Catholic student club.
He lived an austere live and gave to the poor a large portion of the money given to him by his parents for his personal expenses. He was an intrepid athlete, skier and mountain climber.
When he turned 24 he was diagnosed with a terminal illness which claimed his life in only one week.
He died on July 4, 1925. His funeral was attended by many friends, many of whom were poor. He was buried at the cathedral of Turin.
Pope John Paul II called Pier Giorgio Frassatti the “man of the eight beatitudes.” He was beatified in 1990 and deemed a model of “faith and charity, the true channels of strength of his existence, an active and diligent apostle in his family, school and society, a joyful passionate and enthusiastic apostle of Christ.”