DANVERS (CBS) — Over one thousand people gathered to say goodbye to renowned advocate for ALS research and Beverly native Pete Frates Friday. The funeral mass took place at St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Chestnut Hill, next to Frates’s alma mater, Boston College.
“We pray for God’s mercy today, for Peter. But we also pray a prayer of thanksgiving because he found you, Julie, in his life. You had a way of drawing the best out of him. And he’s lucky to have this family, Jennifer, Andrew, Nancy, John. You’re part of a story here. It was your love, you know, you launched him and we are the beneficiaries,” said Fr. Tony Penna.
John Frates Jr., Pete’s father, delivered the eulogy. In it, he thanked the B.C., St John’s Prep, and Massachusetts communities for their support.
To describe Pete’s giving spirit, John told the story of when Pete was in school, he was sent out to plow a few driveways in Beverly. After not returning for hours, John called and Pete said he was in Peabody, helping others shovel and plow their driveway six hours. John said, “The only reason he came home was because he was out of fuel.”
John asked three things of attendees: one, to stay with the family and stick with their mission to strike out ALS, two, to love and support Pete’s wife, Julie, and daughter, Lucy, and lastly: “There’s no crying in baseball. The words he said to us that night he was diagnosed is there is no wallowing in ALS. So when we walk out of this beautiful magnificent church after this ceremony is over, we’re done with grieving. We’re done. All we’re doing is celebrating Pete Frates for the magnificent human he was. ”
During Penna’s homily, he recalled praying with Frates a few weeks ago. “I was telling him about Boston College’s hockey victory over Harvard, I was talking about St. John’s Prep making the super bowl, I was talking like that and then I went into same prayers and his eyes were open for a short time and they were looking right at me. And I was thinking he’s lost much of his agility, he’s lost a lot of his muscle, he’s lost a lot of his mobility, but when he was looking at me and I was praying for him, I got a strange feeling he was thinking, ‘you’re the one who needs the prayers,'” Penna said to laughs.
“Peter will be with us because that’s the kind of power or juice he has accumulated because of his goodness over the years and because of his faith,” Penna said. “Can you imagine if all of us lit up the world with goodness in honor of this good man? Peter would be well pleased. But the world? Would be well served.”
Before the service, a procession passed through St. John’s Prep in Danvers, where Frates attended high school and played several sports. Students, faculty, and staff lined the route, which went by the varsity baseball field that was dedicated to Frates in 2017.
A group of faculty, coaches, and administrators also formally represented the school at the funeral.
Frates was the inspiration behind the viral Ice Bucket Challenge and helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for ALS research.
A public celebration of Frates’s life will be held at St. John’s Prep on Monday from 4-8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that people consider making a donation to the Pete Frates Foundation.