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St. László,  Model for Hungarian Diaspora

Most Rev. Cserháti Ferenc

... During the past year, we remembered, by means of a series of celebrations,  the 940th anniversary of King St. László’s accession to the throne and the 825th anniversary of his canonization.  I would like to recall the connection of Hungarians abroad to the Christian and Hungarian moral courage and integrity of St. László who had been forced abroad and grew up there.  Like us, he found himself in a foreign environment, among many-colored cultures and peoples speaking the language of the accepting country, and with familial and other connections to several nations.  Among all this he became the ”nation’s athlete” and the champion of the Christian faith.

St. László was born in Poland, in a foreign land, as were most children of Hungarian parents abroad.  His father, King Béla I, was of the House of Árpád, his mother Richeza was a Polish princess.  Thus St. László was the son of two nations, as are many young people abroad.  Originally, even his name had been foreign – he was called Ladislav – in a foreign language, as they also often do to us in foreign lands.  We don’t even know the name of his first wife, but once he was widowed, he married the daughter of Rudolf of Rheinfeld, Prince of Swabia – not the daughter of Hungarian parents, as is the case of many young people today who do not choose a Hungarian spouse abroad...  He was born abroad and they spoke several languages in his family, yet he remained firm in his Hungarian consciousness and in his Christian faith.  He became the light of his nation, the pioneer of national Christian culture in our country, steadfastly fostering, defending and spreading the Christian heritage bequeathed by St. István (Stephen).

The example of his life is especially timely for the new generation living abroad, useful as a guide that is attractive and may be followed.   Why can we not be like him, good Hungarians and good Christians?    Why can we not be his companions in leading a holy life? 

We hold commemorations because they remind us of lasting values which we can still respect and make our own, which we can always use. Specifically, if we can appreciate and make our own the Christian witness of St. László in our own lives, we can link our own cause with God’s cause, as he did during his earthly life.  Otherwise we only pick and choose among the values of his life’s example and forget that without the Christian heritage of our ancestors, our Hungarian consciousness abroad is simply lacking, hobbling.  Venerating the Saint means following the sanctity of his life and, like him, living a life of true Christian principles.

The heroic stand of St. László against attacking enemies and evil encourages us particularly today to take up the struggle, even abroad, against such harmful beliefs, murderous ideologies and bad habits which aim at defiling the Christian soul, rob us of our ancient heritage, ruin our Christian faith and family traditions;  which would force us into slavery, extinguish the love of family and respect for parents, which would wean us away from prayer, and keep us away from church, from confession, from the gift of marriage and the other sacraments. 

The example of St. László encourages us to ”fight the good fight of faith”, and to follow the witness of those ”who live the Gospel without compromise, carry out their duties, and generously serve the poor”  (cf. "Martyrdom", by Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican Radio, 10/29/2007), or as the Apostle Paul says:  ”For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12)... 

Historians have also recorded that St. László appeared several times after his death among his own, performing miracles where the need was great.

Hungarian soldiers went into battle with this battle-cry: ”St. László, help!” Let us also implore him with confidence: King St. László, be our leader and help us in our noble, Christian struggle!  You, who were our ruler on earth, be our protector in heaven!

In closing, I recall the memory of the 1938 International Eucharistic Congress of Budapest and bring to your attention that the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Budapest, September 13th to the 20th of 2020.  It will offer an outstanding opportunity for spiritual renewal, not only in Hungary but also abroad.  One of the most beautiful ways is through Eucharistic Adoration, which may be organized anywhere in the world. And let us pray with our brothers in Hungary that ”the celebration of the Eucharistic Congress may serve the spiritual renewal of our entire community of the faithful, of our capital, of our people, of Europe and the whole world.”  (Further practiclal suggestions may be found on the web page of the 2020 Budapest International Eucharistic Congress at www.iec2020.hu)

In preparation for the Eucharistic Congress, we have also planned to record  the ”Old Testament Audio Bible of the Hungarian Diaspora”, purpose of which is to involve Hungarians living abroad and their communities in the reading and digital recording of the Old Testament. We would like to spread knowledge of the Bible and to document and record the voice, name,  current country and locality of accommodation of each reader of a 3-minute biblical segment. Further information is available on the web page of the Szegedi Nemzetközi Biblikus Alapítvány, at www.sznbk1988.hu/hu ...

Thank you for all your monetary, spiritual and moral support...


Titular Bishop of Centuria,

Auxiliary Bishop of Esztergom-Budapest

  charged  with the pastoral care of Hungarians abroad,

December 3, 2017,

First Sunday of Advent

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