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Bishop Attila Miklósházy, SJ – R.I.P.

Born in Diósgyőr in 1931, he began his high school studies there, but because he gave an inspirational speech on March 15th, 1948, the Communist government expelled and barred him from every high school in the country.  He finished his junior year privately, and began his senior year in a nationalized high school.  Refusal to participate in a demonstration against Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty caused his expulsion from there as well.  He took his final exams for graduation in secret, before Jesuit teachers.  

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1949, beginning his seminary studies in Budapest, and continuing in Szeged.  Together with his classmates, he was taken to a detention center, but managed to escape to the central seminary In Budapest.  He took his first vows, in secret, in 1952. Then he served two years of mandated military service, by which the authorities hoped to deflect seminarians from their calling.  For him and for many thousands of others considered "caste aliens" (osztály idegenek), this meant forced labor in construction or coal mines.  Because the religious orders had been dissolved by the Communist government, he then worked as a surgeon’s assistant at  Szent István Hospital in Budapest.

He left Hungary by order of his superiors in December of 1956, and completed his priestly studies in Germany and Canada.  Ordained in Toronto on June 18th, 1961 by Cardinal James Charles McGuigan, he took his religious vows as a Jesuit in Rome in 1966.  He obtained a doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.  Subsequently he taught Theology at Regis College, then at St. Michael University, both in Toronto.

In 1984, Fr. Miklósházy was appointed Dean of the theological faculty at Toronto’s St. Augustine Archdiocesan Seminary, where he also taught Systematic Theology and Liturgy. 

Active in the post-Vatican II liturgical renewal, as well as in Anglican-Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue,  he wrote a number of books in English and Hungarian, and gave retreats to priests and religious in Canada and in Europe.

In 1989, Pope St. John Paul II named him Titular Bishop of Castellum Minus and Bishop of Hungarians Abroad. In that capacity, he visited Hungarian churches in the West three times, as long as his health permitted. Upon his mandatory retirement in 2006, Bishop Cserháti Ferenc, Auxiliary Bishop of Esztergom-Budapest was named to succeed him.  

Bishop Miklósházy was buried at St. Augustine Seminary, Toronto.  May he rest in peace!


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