Francis J. Parater

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Servant of God
Francis J. Parater
Frank Parater.jpg
Born October 10, 1897
Richmond, Virginia
Died February 7, 1920(1920-02-07) (aged 22)
Rome, Italy

Francis Joseph Parater (October 10, 1897 – February 7, 1920) was a Roman Catholic seminarian from the Diocese of Richmond who died of rheumatic fever at the age of 22 during his theological studies in Rome. He was nominated for canonization, the process by which one is declared a saint, in 2001.[1][2]


Frank Parater was born on October 10, 1897 to a Catholic family in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Captain Francis J. Parater, Sr. and his second wife, Mary Richmond. While growing up, he served as an altar boy, and attended the Xaverian Brothers' School (subsequently called Saint Patrick's School) and Benedictine High School (subsequently called Benedictine College Preparatory) in Richmond. In 1917, he graduated as the valedictorian of his class. Parater was active in scouting, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.[3]

Parater decided to pursue a vocation to the priesthood after high school, and began college at Belmont Abbey Seminary in 1917. As a seminarian, he was noted for his dedication to prayer and his intellectual and physical abilities. In 1919, his bishop, Denis J. O'Connell, sent him to study theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He officially began his studies there on November 25, 1919.[3]

In January 1920, Parater became very ill with rheumatic fever. He received last rites and died on February 7. After his death, his "Act of Oblation," a sort of prayer and spiritual testament he had written, was discovered. Two popes have asked for copies of it, and it has been published in English and in the L'Osservatore Romano in Italian.[4] His body is interred in the mausoleum of the North American College in Rome's Campo Verano cemetery.[5]

Cause for canonization[edit]

The nihil obstat of the Holy See to begin the cause for Frank Parater's canonization was granted on May 8, 2001. The bishop of Richmond at the time, Walter F. Sullivan, established the tribunal on March 24, 2002.[6] The postulator of the cause is Rev. J. Scott Duarte, J.C.D.[3]


  1. ^ Neill, Steve. "Diocese opens tribunal for Frank Parater's Cause for Sainthood". The Catholic Virginian. Diocese of Richmond. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Servant of God Seminarian Frank Parater". Diocese of Arlington. Retrieved November 8, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b c "His Life". Servant of God Frank Parater. Diocese of Richmond. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ Marchetti, Ottavio (May 1, 1920). "The Spiritual Last Will and Testament of a Young Man from Virginia". L'Osservatore Romano. Translated by Herbert Musurello. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ Weigel, George (2004). "The Hardest Questions". Letters to a Young Catholic. New York: Basic Books. Retrieved November 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ Duarte, J. Scott (Fall 2002). "The Servant of God Frank Parater, Seminarian". Alumni Magazine of the Pontifical North American College. Retrieved November 8, 2015.