It was a landmark occasion on Thursday at the Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Dallas with the formal benediction of Abbot Peter Verhalen as the third Abbot of the Irving monastery.
Father Abbot Peter is the first American born Abbot and the first alumnus of the monastery’s Cistercian Preparatory School to lead the Cistercian community. The new abbot was elected February 15 after the resignation of Father Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy who served in the position for 24 years.
We offer our congratulations, felicitations and prayers to Father Abbot Peter and our deep gratitude to Father Abbot Denis for his many years of leadership of the Cistercian community.
The Cistercian community is thriving with 17 American born monks, four of which were ordained to the priesthood last August. The Church of Dallas has been enriched by the presence of the many young men who have graduated from Cistercian Preparatory School. Cistercians have served on the faculty and in key administrative positions at the University of Dallas since its founding and assist in many parishes.
In 1954 the first refugee Cistercian monks arrived in Dallas at the invitation of Bishop Thomas K. Gorman, after the suppression of their monastery at Zirc, Hungary. As other monks arrived the monastery of Our Lady of Dallas was established in 1961 and the preparatory school in 1962.
Our diocese has indeed been and continues to be blessed by the presence of the Cistercians.
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