Frassati Squad assists priesthood discernment


An early 20th century Italian, known for his strong faith, is serving as the role model for young men seeking to discern a vocation to the diocesan priesthood.

The Frassati Squad was initiated in April 2016 by Father Shane Deman, director of the office of vocations. There are now 12 members from across the Diocese of Sioux City.Frassati, Pier Giorgio

The gatherings are held every five to six weeks in the parish center at St. Mary’s in Storm Lake. Lunch is provided for the young men.

“This is a high school discernment group for teenage guys who are seeking to do the Lord’s will,” Father Deman said. “When young men are thinking about a religious vocation, they often don’t know to whom they can talk. This gives them peers to discuss the same questions they are facing. My hope is that more young men will be ready to enter college seminary with confidence following their participation in this group.”

The next meeting will be at the end of April and the young men will then gather for the ordination of the new priests in early June.

“This group lets members discern with each other through fraternal support and prayer,” said Father Deman. “As they continue to discern their vocation, they may look to Blessed Frassati as a role model of holiness in their teenage years, seeking to grow as virtuous Christian men.”

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati – born in 1901 in Turin, Italy – was known for his strong faith and service to the poor. His joy and enthusiasm were evident to all and he kept daily Mass, adoration and Marian devotions at the center of his life. He was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic.

“He was active among many service organizations, including Catholic Action,” said Father Deman. “He also loved art and theater, and he was an avid outdoorsman, known for his mountain climbing.”

When Blessed Frassati died at the age of 24 on July 4, 1925, from complications of poliomyelitis, the streets of Turin were “lined with the poor and sick whom he served, completely unknown to his family members up to that point,” noted the vocations director.

Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1990; the young man’s feast day is July 4.

Project Andrew               

Even though the Frassati Squad has formed, the Project Andrew dinners will continue as informal gatherings with local priests who invite young men to consider the priesthood. The Project Andrew dinners have been held at central locations throughout the diocese.

To help make the events more personal, Father Deman decided to start having the dinners more frequently on a smaller and local level.

In a letter to the priests, Father Deman pointed out a gathering was held at the end of November in Fort Dodge.

“Msgr. (Kevin) McCoy and Father (Pat) Behm helped host the first dinner in this new format, which was a great success,” the vocations director wrote. “I hope to replicate this experience in many other parishes.”

Father Deman’s goal is to have the pastor(s) of an individual parish or cluster invite five to seven young men to the rectory for dinner.

“This format will hopefully be more inviting for the candidates as they will know each other and will not have to drive any great distance,” he said. “It will also allow me to get to know prospective candidates more personally than what is possible at large diocesan events.”

For more information on the Frassati Squad, contact Father Deman at the vocations office,

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