February 7, 2021

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7 February
5th Sunday of Ordinary Time / Sexagesima Sunday

On the 7th of February, 1920, a seminarian for the Diocese of Richmond passed away in Rome at the North American College. His passing was sad but subdued, until his class-mates who were gathering his belongings to be sent back to his family in Richmond discovered a letter which he had marked “to be read only in the event of his death in Rome”, which included the following last testament:

Act of Oblation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

I have nothing to leave or give but my life, and this I have consecrated to the Sacred Heart to be used as He wills. I have offered my all for conversions to God of non-Catholics in Virginia. This is what I live for and, in the case of death, what I die for. Death is not unpleasant to me, but the most beautiful and welcome event of life. Death is the messenger of God come to tell us that our novitiate is ended and to welcome us to the real life.

Melancholic or morbid sentimentality is not the cause of my writing this, for I love my life here, the College, the men and Rome itself. But I have desired to die and be buried with the saints. I dare not ask God to take me lest I should be un-grateful or be trying to shirk the higher responsibilities of life; but I shall never have less to answer for – perhaps nev-er be better ready to meet my Maker, my God, my All. Since I was a child I have desired to die for the love of God and for my fellow-man. Whether or not I shall receive that favor I know not but if I live, it is for the same purpose; every ac-tion of my life here is offered to God for the spread and suc-cess of the Catholic Church in Virginia. I have always de-sired to be only a little child, that I may enter the kingdom of God. In the general resurrection I wish to always be a boy and to be permitted to accompany Saints John Berchmans, Aloysius and Stanislaus as their servant and friend. Do we serve God and man less worthily by our prayers in heaven than by our actions on earth? Surely it is not selfish to desire to be with Him Who has loved us so well.

I shall not leave my dear ones. I will always be near them and be able to help them more than I can here below. I shall be of more service to my diocese in heaven than I could ever. be on earth. If it is God's holy will, I will join Him on Good Friday, 1920, and never leave Him more - but not my will, Father, but Thine be done!

Rome, December 5th, 1919
Frank Parater

Frank Prater, pray for us.

Rev. Christopher J. Pollard