The Holy Spirit is vigorously at work in the Archdiocese of Brisbane with the willing co-operation of the new Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge.

A remarkable example of that work is to be found in the surprising development of a lay initiative now flourishing using the titles " Frassati Australia" and " Frassati Ministries". And the laity involved are all young males. Everything about its success seems counter-intuitive to modern society.

Before we launch into a detailed examination of its operation, let us look at how it came into existence. The story slightly pre - dates the arrival of Archbishop Coleridge ( 11 th May, 2012). In 2011 , in the dying days of Archbishop John Bathersby's episcopate, several young men who each had experience of the famed NET Teams, banded together to share a house whilst going about their normal working lives. They were each committed Catholics and saw benefit in praying in common, studying and reflecting upon Sacred Scripture in common, and in getting together in apostolic work in their free time. Soon their activity attracted the attention of other young men. In due course a second house was set up , and a third and finally a fourth which brings us up to date.

Very early in the piece they recognised that they were developing a particular form of religious apostolate and desired to adopt an appropriate Patron for that activity. They chose Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati ( 1901 - 1925) the remarkable young Italian , son of a wealthy family, whose life was devoted to the love of Christ and His Blessed Mother and who had an exceptional devotion to the Blessed Eucharist. He was very keen on many forms of sport, led an active social life and was particularly handsome .His vibrant and attractive personality drew many young people to him, and he was known for his love of practical jokes and his diverse sporting activities from hiking to horse riding, mountain climbing and skiing.


To paraphrase the FRASSATI  literature , those living in FRASSATI houses seek to achieve " the true peace that only Faith in Jesus Christ can give us in common brotherhood". Each house forms the closest community in the FRASSATI structure, and is regarded as the surest means to help build lifelong spiritual habits and devotions within each of the men. To achieve this end, each member of a FRASSATI house undertakes to:

. Be faithful to Sunday Mass and to attend at least one daily Mass per 
. Approach the Sacrament of Penance at least Monthly
. Seek times of personal prayer daily e.g. the Holy Rosary or the Divine                   
. Seek times of common prayer such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the          
  Holy Souls.
. Engage regularly in spiritual reading and spiritual direction.
. Perform a work of Charity each day.
. Regularly be before Our Lord Jesus Christ in Eucharistic adoration.

These undertakings clearly expose the very serious intent of the FRASSATI members. The group does not envisage a permanent membership in the Houses, and in fact, not all members still live in the houses due to commitment to married life. Rather, the Houses are seen as providing lived experiences of spiritual and Faith development,providing strength from the common life, before the Members go out into the fullness of their vocation either in the married or single state or in training for Priestly or Religious Life.

Now, popular wisdom would have it that such earnestness is alien to young Australian males to-day. Yet plainly, this is not the case as the number of Houses grows. And, in addition, there is a substantial widening circle of FRASSATI followers from whom further members are recruited.

" We shouldn't be afraid
   and we should always
   have faith in the goodness
   of God Who will give us the 
   necessary help"
   Bl Pier Georgio Frassati


FRASSATI has as its basic work the operation of the Houses themselves, working on the spiritual formation and development of the Members.

But from those bases the members engage in a variety of significant and perhaps surprising apostolic works.

Altar Serving Guild

Here Members seek to Evangelise through the Liturgy .

Come again?

Think about it and the concept rapidly shows forth its promise. By fostering the devout and reverent celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, the Guild brings about a radical change in the atmosphere in which Catholics in the Brisbane Parishes where they operate, assist at Holy Mass. The sense of the sacred is restored, and a deeper understanding of , and appreciation of the Holy Mass and of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is achieved.

Not only that, but in that more authentic atmosphere the significance of the prayers of the Mass and of the readings, is evoked more clearly and the entire celebration is rendered more truly vibrant , co-operating with the Holy Spirit and leading to true " full and active participation"in mind and heart, in the prayers and actions of the Mass,  as the Church desires.

They achieve all this by their dedicated, well-trained,devout service at the Altar. No longer does the Priest have to be driven to distraction by being surrounded by ineptitude, or oafishness, much less "giggling and concentration on who is looking at me?". No. The Priest is free to concentrate on his prayers to the Blessed Trinity, to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in his hands and before him on the altar, secure in the knowledge that when he reaches for this or that, it will be there, and when he turns to perform the Lavabo the Server will be there and all will be ready. He will not have to be gesturing to this one to come or that one to go. They will be there or will go,of their own accord and at the appropriate time. He can be the Priest he was ordained to be.

And as this sense of the sacred evolves , congregations come to see that the Merry go Round Songs they have been singing are not appropriate to this now perceived to be sacred rite. It is true that all ships rise on a rising tide. And whereas parish liturgies have for too long been spiralling down the drain hole in effectiveness, this professional aid comes to the rescue.

In addition the Frassati Servers  assist at major public events in the Archdiocese  such as the Corpus Christi Procession and other special occasions.

The example of the reverence of the Frassati Servers leads other young men to want to join them for proper training and in some cases for involvement in more Frassati activities. For some of the Frassati men too, it awakes the inkling of a vocation to Priestly life. Nothing succeeds like success.


A regular feature of the FRASSATI activities is the Verso L'Alto  evenings.
The phrase means to turn  one's attention on high.

These evenings are held every Monday ( save only the once a Month when " Faith on Tap" is held at the Pineapple Hotel down the road a little - an activity FRASSATI supports strongly). The format is Mass at 7.00 pm at Saint Joseph's Church Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, followed by a meeting with Prayer, Sacred Scripture and Catechism Study, Adoration and Reconciliation  and some refreshments. Mass is celebrated alternately in the Ordinary Form ( Ad orientem) and in the Extraordinary Form .

The Church is notable for its truly beautiful Sanctuary and Altar and Altar furnishings of exceptional quality. The congregation is made up mainly of young men with a liberal sprinkling of girl friends all in all 60/70 people. The small choir sings Gregorian Chant and selected quality hymns ( no mere songs) . With Frassati's own servers and Spiritual Director Father Paul Chandler ( whose " day job" is as Parish Priest of Nundah in Brisbane) as celebrant , one finds a truly inspiring celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.

On the evening I attended - trying to hide my 73 yrs by retreating to the most obscure position I could find - the normal format was suspended to enable Father Chandler and his three companions recently returned from a Frassati Pilgrimage to report to the Members - a report made all the more interesting by showing their well chosen photos, complete with a humorous opening selection. These are real live, life enjoying young guys!

When the proceedings were complete, I was offered a lift back to my accommodation by one of the Leaders, Joe Moloney. He is a Captain in the Army and studying for the Permanent Diaconate, married with a little baby. He is also an importer and distributor of superb Church Plate and Altar furnishings - which explains the glorious state of Saint Joseph's Altar. We diverted on the way, to join a large segment of the group at Macca's (McDonald's for our non-Australian readers) and a lively get together it was! A lot of fun even for this scribe - oh to be in one's twenties again! And how impressive to be amongst so many intelligent, happy well-informed young Catholics so committed to, and rejoicing in their Faith!

Let me pause there, before completing this FRASSATI story in a further post.


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