Blessed Pier Giorgio is a great inspiration for Catholics, especially young people. His short life was lived in service for others and can teach us much about living in the world while living for God.
Pier Giorgio Frassati was born on April 6th 1901 in Turin, Italy. His parents were well known in the town, as his father owned a newspaper and was influential in Italian politics. At a young age Pier Giorgio had developed a strong spiritual life; he would go to mass and receive the Eucharist as often as possible, not just on Sundays, he also had a great devotion to Our Lady.
Pier Giorgio would socialise often with his friends, he went to university to study Engineering, he would go to the theatre, museums and read poetry but his favourite activity was mountain climbing. He even used this as an opportunity to share his faith with his friends, encouraging them to pray the rosary and read the Bible while they were out. He told his friends: “I urge you with all the strength of my soul to approach the Eucharist Table as often as possible. Feed on this Bread of the Angels from which you will draw the strength to fight inner struggles.” Even more than all of his adventures with his friends, Pier Giorgio loved to serve the poor of Turin, he considered it his privilege to do so. Some days he would give his bus money to people he saw suffering and would run home and he would sacrifice his family holidays to stay behind and look after others.
Pier Giorgio gave more than his possessions however, he gave his whole self, and in 1925 he contracted polio which doctors said he most likely caught from the sick he served. The young man died at the age of 24 on July 4th, the day we now celebrate as his feast day. On the day of his funeral, Pier Giorgio’s family were surprised by the number of people who had turned out on the streets of Turin, the streets were full of all of the
people he had taken care of and sacrificed so much for. Those on the streets were surprised to discover Pier Giorgio was in fact the heir to one of the most influential families in the city; he had simply been their friend.
He was beatified (an important step to becoming a recognised saint by the Church) in 1990 and is now often called ‘The Man of the Eight Beatitudes’ because of his love of living out the call of Jesus to love God by serving those in need.
In the words of Bl Pier Giorgio ‘Verso l’alto’ (which means ‘to the heights’). Let us be inspired by this saintly young man to go to the heights of our service of others and our love of God.
The Right Reverend Mark Davies, the 11th Bishop of Shrewsbury
The Right Reverend Mark Davies was born in Manchester on 12th May 1959 and baptised at St Richard’s Church, Longsight.
Bishop Davies was educated at St Richard’s Infant School and St Robert’s Primary School in Manchester and at Broadstone Hall County Primary School and St Anne’s High School in Stockport before beginning his training for the priesthood at Ushaw College, Durham.
Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Holland of Salford on 11th February 1984 he served as an assistant priest at Our Lady of Grace, Prestwich, and St Mary’s, Swinton, before he was appointed private secretary to Archbishop Patrick Kelly (then Bishop of Salford) in 1988. From December 1992 until September 2003 the then Father Davies was parish priest of St. John Bosco, Manchester, and was also appointed Dean of North Manchester in 1999.
In January 2003 Bishop Terence Brain of Salford appointed the then Monsignor Davies as Vicar General of the Salford Diocese. As Vicar General he served as the parish priest of St Teresa Little Lever between 2003 and 2006, St Joseph Longsight between 2006 and 2007 and Holy Family, Wigan, between 2007 and 2009.
In December 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Monsignor Davies as the Coadjutor Bishop of Shrewsbury. He was ordained Bishop on 22nd February 2010 at St Anthony’s, Wythenshawe, Manchester. On 1st October 2010 Bishop Davies became the 11th Bishop of Shrewsbury in succession to Bishop Brian Noble.
Bishop Mark has always been a great supporter of Youth Ministry, in particular Youth2000, so it is with great joy that the vision for the Shrewsbury Youth Mission Team came to fruition.
‘I’m Sandy, I’m the Director of the Shrewsbury Youth Mission Team. My time with SYMT so far has been amazing, filled with so much joy and so many happy people. I joined the SYMT from a schools background where I worked as a school chaplain. I have also worked for many years with the Salesians of Don Bosco, so naturally St John Bosco is very close to my heart. I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for us in the future.
I love the great outdoors and walking. I also like sitting back with a good book; this year I’m aiming to read one book every month. Spending time with family and friends is important to me too.
One of my favourite scripture verses is Pilippians 4:13:
‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’
I chose this bible passage because it reminds me that everything we do is because of God and it is through the love of God that I get my strength every day.
Join us live on the Shrewsbury Youth Mission Team YouTube channel for this year’s Explore Lent.
We’ll be continuing our Into the Wilderness theme with discussion, activities, reflection and prayer!
3rd March, 7.30pm – Live from St Peter’s, Hazel Grove
17th March, 7.30pm – Live from St Edward’s, Runcorn
Watch on YouTube, here
An online group for young adults aged 18+ to hang out, meet others, have fun and grow in faith.
Our next meetings are:
4th March – How can I deepen my faith?
With guest speaker Sr Linda Pergega FDC
1st April – How can I share my faith?
For more information or to join the group please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What: 2nd annual Altar Servers Day
“Into The Wilderness – A survival guide”
Prayer and reflection alongside activities, games and lots of fun.
When: 27th March 2021 – 10am-2.30pm
Who: Any young person 10 to 18 who serves in the parish (or at least did before last March)
How: Download the consent form here and email back to email@example.com
St Thérèse of Lisiuex was a remarkable young woman who had such faith in God that her writings have helped form the teachings of the Catholic Church. Even though she died at the age of 24, she is known as a Doctor of the Church.
Thérèse Martin was born in Alençon, France on 2nd January 1873, to Louis and Zélie Martin (now also canonised saints). St Thérèse’s mother died when Thérèse was 4, she became very close to her father and sisters. We find out most of what we know about St Thérèse from her autobiographical writings known as ‘Story of a Soul’.
As a young child St Thérèse was often ill, aged 10 she received healing from a serious illness through the intercession of Our Lady of Victories. From a young age she felt called to follow her sisters and enter the Carmelite convent in Lisiuex; however she was prevented due to her age. St Thérèse was so convinced of her call and had such trust in God that during a pilgrimage to Rome she asked Pope Leo XIII if he would permit her to enter aged 15, even though she had been told not to speak to him.
St Thérèse is known for her ‘little way’ of holiness, she said “I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new.” She looked for small ways to be holy in each moment. St Thérèse did not always find it easy to pray; she suffered physically and emotionally and did not always get along with the other members of her community. However she offered all of her suffering to Jesus and because of this was able to face the trials that came her way.
St Thérèse is often called ‘The Little Flower’ not solely because of her love for flowers but because she saw herself as a little flower in God’s garden. She recognised that all flowers are different, and she was happy to be who God had created her to be. She also said “The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”
On 30th September 1897 St Thérèse died, after being very ill. Even after death her life continues to inspire many people to live a life of complete trust in God and gives us an example of how to endure suffering. St Thérèse is considered to be patron saint of missions, not because she travelled far and wide (she was a cloistered nun) but because of her prayers and support of missionaries, hence why she is one of our patrons!
“My mission – to make God loved – will begin after my death,” she said. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.”
Pope St John Paul II gives us an incredible example of faith in God. Many people remember Pope St John Paul II for his incredible pontificate (his time as Pope), but his lived his whole life as a witness to God’s love in the world.
Karol J Wojtyla (Pope St John Paul II’s baptismal name) was born in the small Polish city of Wadowice on 18th May 1920. He suffered great tragedy as a young man with his mother, brother, and father dying before he was 21.
As a young man he loved acting and play writing, a passion that continued throughout his life, and so enrolled in a university to study at the drama school. However after the Nazi occupation of Poland the university was closed down and he went to work at a quarry. Despite the Nazi occupation of his native country Karol Wojtyla remained faithful to God and, feeling called to be a priest, entered a secret seminary to study for the priesthood.
After the Second World War he continued his studies at a re-opened major seminary and was ordained a priest in 1946. During his time as a priest, Fr Wojtyla served in several parishes as well as chaplain to university students. He kept his enthusiasm for the outdoors too, regularly going hiking, skiing and playing soccer.
At the age of 38 he became Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow, 6 years later Archbishop and just 3 years after that a Cardinal (one of the most senior clergy in the Church below the Pope). As a cardinal he played a key role in the Second Vatican Council, and contributed on many documents that have helped shape Church teaching for our time.
Pope St John Paul II was elected as Pope on 16th October 1978 and was pope for almost 27 years. His first words as Pope to the people gathered in St Peter’s Square were: “Be Not Afraid! Open up, no; swing wide the gates to Christ.”
A key point from his pontificate was devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary; his Papal motto was ‘Totus Tuus’ meaning ‘totally yours’. Pope St John Paul II had a great love for his people, he met more people that any Pope before him. He had a particular zeal for young people, he founded World Youth Day, the international gathering of young people every 2-3 years that still continues to this day. He was a strong advocate of mercy and forgiveness; this was shown particularly when, after a failed assassination attempt on his life he met with the would-be assassin and forgave him.
The beloved Pope died on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2nd April 2005, nearly 3 million people travelled to Rome after his death to pay their respects and to pray. Pope St John Paul II was canonised (declared a Saint) by Pope Benedict XVI in 2013.
Here is one of our favourite quotes from St John Paul II to young people: “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
Here’s some of our favourite links about this saint:
Hi, I’m Clare! I’ve worked as part of SYMT since 2018. Working as part of the Shrewsbury Youth Mission is such a privilege as I get to meet so many young people and help them get to know Jesus. I love working in our Schools and Parishes and no two days are ever the same!
Before working for the Diocese I was a Primary School Teacher. I also volunteered in my local parish I have volunteered with different youth groups and helped to prepare our young people for Confirmation as well as many other ministries including music.
My hobbies include baking, going out with friends and listening to music. I love spending time with family, especially my nieces and nephew. One of my biggest passions is walking, I have completed various pilgrimages including the Camino de Santiago.
One of my favourite Bible verses is: ‘And remember I am with you, always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20)
I like this Bible verse because it’s reassuring that through bad and good times, Jesus is there walking with, supporting and guiding me.