Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy Addresses the Seminary

On Monday evening, close to two hundred people gathered at Saint Columbkille's Church to hear the second talk in the Saint John's Seminary Forum for the Year of Faith.  Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, Abbot Emeritus of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas spoke to us on the topic: From Dei Verbum to Verbum Domini.  In the course of his introduction of the Abbot, Father Romanus Cessario, O.P. reflected on the important role which the Cistercians have played in the history of the Church in the United States of America and the Abbot's significant contributions to the study of Sacred Scripture in the post-conciliar period.

"Welcome to the second session of the Saint John’s Seminary Forum for the Year of Faith! Pope Benedict XVI encourages us: “At the diocesan level, the Year of Faith is considered, among other things, as an occasion for renewed creative dialogue between faith and reason in the academic and artistic communities, through symposia, meetings...” (Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith III, 8). Saint John’s Seminary is pleased to contribute to this initiative that the Holy Father has indicated in the Apostolic Letter, Porta fidei.” You’ll find a brochure which provides the dates for the upcoming spring conferences. Tonight we continue the Forum with an eminent representative of the Catholic intellectual world. Father Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, Abbot Emeritus of the Cistercian Abbey, Our Lady of Dallas.

"Father Abbot, here in New England many people are familiar with the Cistercians of the seventeenth-century La Trappe reform who are located in Spencer, Massachusetts. This means that some may not know that the real Cistercians date from the brink of the eleventh century when the Three Holy Founders of the Cistercian Order set up shop in a marshland south of Dijon. Cîteaux. In fact, until I arrived in Switzerland and visited your venerable abbey of Hauterive, I did not know that there were real Cistercians before Abbot de Rancé underwent his celebrated conversion. These Cistercian monks, your Cistercians, have contributed to the work that monks do best: preserve Western civilization. Your Hungarian monastery of Zirc, where you entered–clandestinely–in 1955, represents one of those great monastery schools that dotted the European landscape throughout the second millennium. We Dominicans are Johnnies-Come-Lately, and with few exceptions never quite figured out how to run full curricula schools. By contrast, Cistercian Preparatory School in Dallas today excels in the work of training young Catholic men.

"It would take too long to recount the journey that adverse political circumstances–to speak euphemistically–obliged you to take from Hungary to Texas. Our Lady of Dallas Abbey and the abbey school flourish in great part because of your leadership of nearly a quarter of a century. Like the great Cistercian abbots whose works have come down to us as the writings of the Cistercian Fathers, you have combined your monastic consecration with a life of study. Your expertise in Catholic Biblical studies, especially your work on biblical inspiration, has drawn international attention. The Holy Father appointed you to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. You ennoble the University of Dallas faculty with your courses in Sacred Scripture and Mariology and Historical Theology.

"Abbot Denis, Saint John’s Seminary welcomes you with great appreciation and gratitude. Benedict loved the mountains, Bernard, the valleys; Francis, the towns, and Dominic, the villages. Thank you for coming to the valley of the Charles River to help us grow in the grace of the Year of Faith."