As a young man studying at the University of Notre Dame, Frank Schillo’s professors taught him the importance of giving back to his community. Since then, he has not sat idle for very long. Schillo has served on the City Council and as Mayor of Thousand Oaks, California, as well as the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. He was also influential in the creation of several Southern California non-profit organizations focused on providing food, housing and other necessary services to those who need it most.
In April 2015, just after his eightieth birthday, Schillo prayed to the Holy Spirit for another project to help the community. The answer came one morning around two o’clock, when he woke with words in his head. “I heard, “Stop the killing of Christians, Muslims and Jews,”” Schillo said. He believes those words were a message from the Holy Spirit, who has guided him on his latest project—a prayer card to help stop the killing in the Middle East.
Over the course of the next year, Schillo met with many church leaders and members from both California and Wisconsin, where he and his wife of fifty-eight years reside part time, to come up with a plan to help stop genocide in the Middle East. As the project was evolving, Schillo met with a group of fellow parishioners at St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Thousand Oaks, and shared his latest endeavor. That’s when the concept of a prayer card was formed.
Schillo, who had never created anything like a prayer card before, shared his project and ideas with Father Dave Heney, then pastor at St. Paschal Baylon. Because Father Heney has travelled extensively to the Middle East, leading numerous pilgrimages to the Holy Land, he had much to offer. Father Heney was instrumental in the design of the prayer card, as well as the prayer, itself. In addition, both he and Schillo chose St. George of Lydda to be portrayed on the prayer card. Because St. George was beheaded for not renouncing his Christian faith, he is honored as a martyr by many Christians around the world. St. George’s feast day is celebrated on April 23.
The end product is something Schillo is excited to share with the community, as his goal is to distribute the prayer card as widely as possible. He said the prayer card “is not just for Catholic Churches,” and would like to see it distributed to other places of worship, such as synagogues.
When asked how he believes a prayer card could help stop the killing of Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Middle East, Schillo answered, “The only thing in my power is to get the whole country praying.” He added, “Prayer is a thing that we attribute victory to.”