Beloved HLI Chaplain of Many Years Passes Away

For Immediate Release: September 11, 2018

Contact: Deborah M. Piroch, HLI PR Director


FRONT ROYAL, Virginia [September 11, 2018] – Father Frank Papa, S.O.L.T., J.C.D., beloved priest, friend and former chaplain to Human Life International, has passed away.

Known for his Catholic orthodoxy, he spent almost ten years compassionately serving HLI and the Catholic community of Front Royal, from 2004-2014. Prior to 2004, he served as parish priest for a number of churches including Immaculate Conception Church, now a Minor Basilica, in Waterbury, CT.

Requiescat in pace: March 8, 1937-September 10, 2018

Even before Father Papa’s ordination January 21, 1989, the Bristol, Connecticut native spent 25 years working in youth ministry. He founded Teens Inc. in 1963, which grew to serve more than 500 young men. In 1968, he established and operated Teen Homes, a 10-year mission that housed and raised young men struggling from broken homes.

Next he earned a Doctorate in Canon Law from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. Still a layman, he taught at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, CT, where he met Father James H. Flanagan. It was the personal influence of Father Flanagan, founder of S.O.L.T. (The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity), that led to Father Papa’s vocational discernment and eventual ordination.

Father Papa’s apostolate at HLI was an active one: he administered Sacraments to staff, spoke at regional and national homeschooling conferences for Seton Home Study School, assisting various parishes in the Arlington diocese, appearing on EWTN and other television and radio shows, and authored numerous articles and two books: Love, Dating, and Marriage: A Marriage Preparation Guide and Teenage Guide for Confession.

According to Father Papa, serving HLI as chaplain was a wonderful apostolate. “There was no mincing of words or watering down the Faith,” he said. “HLI’s apostolate is one in which the Catholic teaching is spoken straightforwardly in truth.” The same could be said of Father Papa himself.

In speaking of his fondest memories at HLI, Father Papa took great delight serving the community. Faithfully he heard confessions every day before adoration and Mass at HLI Central. He loved giving candy to all the altar boys and children after Mass, provided their parents did not object. He set up hundreds of nativity scenes at HLI Central for an extended Advent and Christmas season exposition for many years.

But the Faith was the heart and soul of Father Papa. The priest once said, “It was a most moving experience celebrating Mass for the first time in the St. Michael Chapel at HLI headquarters, seeing all these large families inside. It has been a privilege serving where the Catholic faith is taught and lived,” he said.

Dear friend and fellow priest, HLI President Father Shenan J. Boquet, who assisted him in his latter years, states: “Father Papa was a tremendous blessing, a faithful priest and a dear friend.  I am grateful to the Lord for allowing our paths to cross and jointly serve the HLI mission. I will greatly miss him, as will all the HLI global family.”

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine upon your faithful servant. Amen.

Funeral arrangements:

A Wake will be held at St. John the Baptist Church, Front Royal, VA on Monday, September 17 from 6:00 p.m. till 8:30 p.m.

An additional Wake will be held on Tuesday, September 18, at the Maddox Funeral Home across from the Church from 10:00 a.m. till funeral time.

A Requiem Mass will be held on Tuesday at St. John the Baptist Church, Front Royal, VA, at 11:00 a.m.

Interment will be at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery following the Mass.

In lieu of flowers, Fr. Papa asked that donations be made to either Front Royal Pregnancy Center or to Human Life International.

About Deborah M. Piroch

Deborah M. Piroch graduated from Mount Holyoke College, the nation’s oldest women’s college, with a double major in German and English Literature. She studied abroad and earned her M.A. in English Literature from Indiana University. Fluent in German, she began her career in international journalism working for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. Returning to the States after a three-year contract, she worked as arts reporter and producer on prime time shows for WQED-FM in Pittsburgh, then a top 20 market. After another three years, she was hired by EWTN Global Catholic Network as news director, anchor and writer for “Catholic World Today,” but soon transitioned into television. Highlights of her 15 years at EWTN include co-anchoring the U.S. March for Life with Marcus Grodi on more than one occasion, live translating the election of Pope Benedict XVI into German, interviewing two former U.S. Presidential candidates and producing Father Benedict Groeschel’s prime time program from its inception for six years. Named the Network’s first International Production Coordinator, she also proposed, budgeted and executed TV shoots in Scotland, England, Norway, Sweden and Germany. Most recently she served as Director of PR for Human Life International.


  1. Nereida Brumat on September 12, 2018 at 9:57 PM

    I pray for the hould of Phathe Papa. Requiem aeterna dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Amen

  2. Robert Duncan on September 14, 2018 at 4:10 AM

    We will miss him very much.

    He was a special friend to me and my family. We will miss him very much! Thank you God for Father Papa.

  3. Lucy Haywood on September 14, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    Oh, Father Papa you will be missed. I’m
    sharing just 2 wonder memories of him… I always sat with my eyes closed during his homilies. I told him one time, I wasn’t sleeping. When my eyes were closed, his voice sounded like the voice of God. I told him he should do the Bible on tape! He laughed and said he would, but those Biblical names were so hard.

    Memory 2. My son worked in the jail (still in Front Royal , then) and Father Papa came in to visit an inmate. Father Papa did not know the procedure for visiting inmates and was not even sure why he was called. My son recognized him and walked him through the process. Father Papa was very gracious and blessed my son.
    Father Papa was a holy man who truly lived his faith. He was my favorite Priest.

  4. Jim Griffin on September 14, 2018 at 1:52 PM

    Jim Griffin, Bristol

    Before Fr. Frank Papa was ever “Fr.,” before he started up Teens, inc., to assist troubled youth in the greater Bristol area, he was “Frank,” our Boy Scout Scoutmaster at St. Anthony’s Troop 18 in Bristol, CT. He was for many of us the older brother we never had, the best possible role model any of us could ever imagine. Almost saintly from the first moment we met him – but great fun, too. Along with my parents, the most influential person in my life.

    He has a sister, Shirley, in the Bristol area, and similar younger contemporary friends of his, all too numerous to mention, whom I’ll try to contact. An unforgettably good person, confidant and protector — and then a wonderful Roman Catholic priest for the faith he so loved and strong advocate, as is President Trump, for reversing the insanity of Planned Parenthood.

    JL Griffin
    860-845-3732 cell

  5. Francette Meaney on September 16, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    I was very impressed when we visited HLI to see the long line of people waiting for confession before and after mass. Joseph our son who worked there and appreciated so much the daily mass at the center of the place told us not to wait since confession could last for hours …We did visited with Father Papa later he was very joyful and welcoming .

  6. Dan Dyer on September 17, 2018 at 1:05 AM

    Father Papa “Frank” Thanks for all you have done for us Boys of Teens Incorporated.. Your Love and Compassion will live on.
    One of your many boys
    Always In touch,
    Dan Dyer

  7. Claudia R. Post on September 17, 2018 at 10:43 PM

    I would attend his Masses at HLI on a regular basis, and I went to confession to him many times. When you looked at his face you could see God there. I’ll miss him.

  8. George on September 18, 2018 at 5:01 PM

    Father Papa was so loved!Malia and the kids saw the giving and the loving he put out. Great man! Truly will be missed! Eternal Rest grant unto him Oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Your faith made you. Love you

  9. Cathy on December 29, 2018 at 7:54 PM

    Many months after our very beloved friend and ‘Priest’s Priest’ has died, we think of him daily and thank God for the blessing of knowing him. I’m addition to being a beautiful example and role model as a Priest, he was like a father to my husband. Both ‘night owls’, my husband would call him at the 10 or 11 p.m. and they would talk about the faith. I loved hearing my husband laugh. Father Papa had many one-liners which we will treasure. He called me ‘little Cathy’. We met him in East Hartford and it was a great loss to us when he moved to Front Royal but he loved it there and we were happy so many loved him. We visited him every summer except for this last one…our hearts are broken for that. When my husband told him we couldn’t come to see him he said…as I type through tears…’that’s okay Brian, heart speaks to heart’. Dear Father Papa, we miss you dearly. Please pray for us. Father Bouquet, Father West and Father Trinkle ….we loved that you loved our dear friend. God bless you all in Front Royal for loving our beloved Father Papa.

  10. Cathy on December 29, 2018 at 8:11 PM

    One of many funny Father Papa stories- I think it was the first summer we visited him after he’d moved from CT. We took him to one of the caverns….we got a wheelchair for him since there would be a lot of walking. I was honored to push him in the wheelchair until we started to go down a hill….I quickly started to lose control but my husband and a few stronger make friends quickly came to my rescue. Father Papa said he saw his life flashing by…lol…he never went with us again to the caverns…lol. …but before we left that first time while being pushed by the guys, there was a large sign posted saying that touching the structures was not permitted. Father Papa, with the grin of a mischievous boy …..every once in awhile would extend his finger to do exactly what the sign instructed NOT to do and he would say ‘Original sin…original sin’. ….oh, the laughs we had with him.

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