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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Patron Saint of World Youth Day

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was an Italian social reformer and Catholic activist. Despite his wealthy family, Frassati operated with a limited amount of funds, and gave almost all his money to the poor and needy. Frassati was extremely vocal against pillars of fascism such as Mussolini. Frassati had a burning desire to spread the faith to the world, as well as to counteract the ideas of the fascists. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati is the patron saint of World Youth Day.

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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was born in Turin in Italy into a wealthy family, which owned the well-known newspaper called 'La Stampa'. He was not a brilliant pupil, but was soon renowned among his peers for his piety.

Despite his wealth, he was very interested in the poor. Frassati was dedicated to works of social action, charity, prayer, and the needs of the community. From an early age, he was involved in Catholic social groups; this made him a well-known figure. Eventually, his desire to serve others and to live a spiritual life led him to become a member of the Third Order of the Dominicans.

Despite his family's enormous wealth and power, Frassati's father was austere and never gave his children too much money. With what little money he had, Frassati donated most or all of it to the poor and those suffering. He loved the poor and the wretched in ways that very few love them. It is a sign of great spirituality to love them and see in them the image of Christ.
Frassati wanted to bring the ideals of Christianity to the people. He was interested in helping people to understand the teachings of the Church. Frassati was deeply upset by the rise of Mussolini, whom he saw as deeply anti-Christian. Frassati was strongly anti-fascist and did nothing to hide his political views. Frassati was a very brave man at a time when few would dare to criticize Mussolini openly. He helped establish a newspaper entitled 'Momento', whose principals were based on Pope Leo XIII's teachings. Frassati wanted to counter the propaganda of the fascists and their anti-Christian rhetoric.

While participating in a Church-organized demonstration in Rome, Frassati was beaten by the police. He continued to speak out against the fascists. One night, his family home was attacked by Mussolini’s thugs.

Frassati died in 1925 of poliomyelitis. His funeral was enormous.

His home town of Turn was lined with thousands of mourners as the cortege passed by. Poor people from the city begged the Pope to have the young man turned into a saint.

Frassati was called the Man of Eight Beatitudes by Pope John Paul II the Great, who beatified him on May 20th, 1990.

Frassati would often say, "Charity is not enough; we need social reform." This is something that every Catholic should take to heart.

Frassati was a very brave man, and if more had been like him, the fascists would never have come to power.