Dr. Timothy T. O’Donnell, President of Christendom College, was recently appointed as a theological expert for the Cause of the Servant of God Frank Parater by Bishop Walter F. Sullivan, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. Bishop Sullivan has made public the canonization process for Francis Joseph Parater, a Catholic who grew up in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia.

ParaterBorn in Richmond in 1897, Frank Parater died in 1920 while studying in Rome, Italy, to be a priest for the Richmond Diocese. In a formal decree, Bishop Sullivan declared Frank Parater to be a “Servant of God” and established a Tribunal to examine his reputation for holiness, the first step toward sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

This is the first instance of a Virginia-born Catholic being nominated for recognition as a saint. The canonization process also brings special recognition to the Boy Scouts of America, with whom Frank Parater achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He was distinguished for the leadership roles he was asked to take on such as overseeing summer camps for youth. He was also associated with the Knights of Columbus, an association of Catholic men.

In singling out this Catholic youth, Bishop Sullivan is recognizing the remarkable impression that Frank Parater made on so many people during his brief life. Frank died before reaching his 23rd birthday. Yet, despite his young age, Frank Parater demonstrated a spiritual maturity, a dedication to lofty values and spontaneity for moral leadership among his peers that captured the attention of civic and church authorities alike.

According to the norms enacted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, a bishop who intends to initiate a cause is to “seek the vote of two theological censors on the published writings of the Servant of God. These censors are to report whether anything is found in these same writings contrary to faith and good morals.” O’Donnell will be joined in his role as theological censor by Reverend Brian T. Mullady, O.P., Chairman of the Department of Dogmatic Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut.

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