Friday the 26th of February the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

US seminarian who carried cross at pope’s Easter Mass dies in Rome

Tributes have been paid to a US seminarian, who has been remembered as a ‘gentle giant’, a faithful ‘prayer warrior’ and a Clark Kent whose superman power was helping people grow in holiness and faith.

‘I believe I truly knew a saint,’ one friend wrote. The written comments were among the hundreds of condolence messages, prayers and stories submitted to an ‘in memoriam’ page on the website for Legionary of Christ Brother Anthony Freeman of Houston.

The US seminarian, who was a third-year theology student at Rome’s Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University, died unexpectedly at the age of 29.

He was scheduled to be ordained a deacon on 7th July in Houston.

He was found dead in his room on 2nd April after classmates realised he had not joined them for a scheduled outing. The university called Italian authorities, who were still conducting an investigation and autopsy as of 4th April to determine the cause of death.

He’d had supper with the seminary community on 1st April after serving as an acolyte that day at the Pope Francis’ Easter morning Mass, carrying the cross in the opening procession.

“They usually pick the tallest person” to carry the cross to give it prominence, and “he was tall and strong and to bear the cross was very symbolic” in hindsight, Legionary Fr Aaron Smith told Catholic News Service.

Picture: Legionaries of Christ Brother Anthony Freeman, 29, is pictured before serving Pope Francis’ Easter Mass at the Vatican on 1st April. The US seminarian from Houston was found dead in his room in Rome on 2nd April. Italian authorities are investigating the death. The “millennial” seminarian was very active in evangelisation efforts on social media. (CNS photo/courtesy Legionaries of Christ).