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Local testimonies sought in support of canonization of Xaverian Missionary

Pilot photo/courtesy Xaverian Missionaries

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HOLLISTON -- The Xaverian Missionaries are collecting local testimonies to aid in the process of beatification and canonization for Bishop Angelo Frosi, SX, the first Xaverian Missionary ordained in the United States.

Father Francesco Correa Moraes, the postulator of the cause, is coming to the United States this summer to collect photographs, documentation, and personal testimonies that might help in the canonization process. To this end, Father Rocco Puopolo, SX, director of the Xaverian Community and the Fatima Shrine in Holliston, is reaching out to local parishes in the hope of gathering testimonies from people who knew Bishop Frosi, who lived in Holliston for several years.

Bishop Jose Maria Chaves Dos Reis began the beatification process at the diocesan level with a ceremony on Dec. 8, 2017, in the Diocese of Abaetetuba, Brazil where Bishop Frosi served as the administrator of the Xaverian Missions and the diocese's second bishop.

Born in San Bassano, Italy, in 1924, Father Frosi came to the United States in 1946. He attended St. John Seminary in Brighton and was ordained in 1948. He served in many different roles throughout his 19 years in the United States, including starting at the Xaverian house in Holliston. In 1968 he was chosen to be the administrator of the Xaverian Missions in Abaetetuba, Brazil.

Father Frosi became the Bishop of Abaetetuba in 1981 and held that position until his death in 1995. In that time, he built the local Church up from a prelacy to a diocese, established two seminaries, and assisted neighboring dioceses. From 1971 to 1979 he served as president of the Northern Region of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference.

Father Anthony Lalli, SX, came with Father Frosi from Italy to the United States and spent over 15 years serving with him in Abaetetuba.

Father Lalli said it was Bishop Frosi's job in Abaetetuba to "keep an eye on the military, make sure they did not abuse" their power, "which they did very often." Under Brazil's military regime, which lasted from 1964 to 1985, both priests and laypeople were threatened by police and arbitrarily arrested.

Bishop Frosi stood up for the poor people who were oppressed by wealthy landowners, Father Puopolo said. He described Bishop Frosi, who he met on a few occasions, as "a wonderful fellow" and a "very gentle but courageous man."

Father Francis Signorelli, SX, worked under Bishop Frosi's leadership for many years, serving as assistant treasurer in Holliston and as regional superior in Abaetetuba.

Both Father Lalli and Father Signorelli described Bishop Frosi as very humble.

"He was always very balanced, very calm, very peaceful. I've never seen him lose patience," Father Lalli remembered.

"I'm really very happy, because I was always very much impressed by Bishop Frosi," Father Lalli about the cause for canonization. "From the day I came in, he received me very kindly and he was a very understanding superior. The students liked him."

Father Puopolo said the canonization process is "a great opportunity for the local Church to see the holiness in this fellow and then pursue it in a global way."

"I was in Rome for the beatification and canonization of our founder, (Guido Maria) Conforti, so that's great for our community, to have saintly people," said Father Signorelli. "I think he is worthy of great consideration to be put on the altar so that we can follow his example and witness to the Gospel."

Those who knew Bishop Frosi and have information they would like to share are encouraged to contact Father Puopolo at 508-429-2144 or frrocco@xaverianmissionaries.org.

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