I became an Altar Boy at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Dallas 50 years ago. I had just finished second grade. So the next Hungarian Mass and get-together we attended, I served Mass as an Altar Boy for Abbot Anselm Nagy, O.Cist. After that, I continued to be the Altar Boy at every Mass until my brothers Tibor and Zoltán also became Altar Boys.
I learned the Mass responses in Latin, English and Hungarian. All the years we attended Mass in Hungarian at Cistercian Abbey, and no one except my brothers and myself ever served Mass.
We were also on hand the night Cardinal Mindszenty József came to the Abbey, late in the evening, after arriving in Dallas for the first time (1974). There was a big celebration planned for the following days and I distinctly remember we were told he would be too tired to see us.
When he and his entourage arrived (it was after 10:00 PM, I think), Cardinal Mindszenty strode into the lobby, his stature very small from his years of imprisonment by the Soviets, but when he spoke, his voice boomed as if he was ten feet tall. We were supposed to serve Mass for him but the Abbot told my Mom that the priests were going to perform those duties. So we attended the Mass with Anyuka és Apuka, and I must confess – and I know it’s a sin! – but I was pretty upset that after all those years of serving Mass, we were kicked aside for the Most Important Mass of our lives!
Yes, it was over 40 years ago, and nobody knew or thought of it, but I know and now you do too. If you don’t know it, you must read and study the story of Cardinal Mindszenty. I hope he is canonized a Saint by the Pope some day.
László Laky is Chief Motor Officer of Dallas Gateway Traffic Safety.
P.S. Cardinal Mindszenty József is already called ”Venerable”, which means that the process of his beatification is under way. It requires a careful examination of all of the candidate’s writings, and Cardinal Mindszenty wrote voluminously, which may explain why it is taking so long. (Ed.)