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.
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.
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.