October 12, 2018
On Saturday, September 15th, 2018, Mater Dei Parish, our apostolate in Dallas, Texas, hosted a sold-out symposium on Blessed Karl von Habsburg, the last emperor of Austria-Hungary. The event included the presence of several guests of honor, including the granddaughter of Blessed Karl, Princess Maria-Anna Habsburg Galitzine, and delegates from the Emperor Karl Prayer League. To learn more, we talked to David Ross, parishioner of Mater Dei and organizer of the event.
The event kicked off at 9:30 a.m. with a reception in the parish hall featuring a smorgasbord of Austrian sweets, handmade by the parishioner-owned Little Polish Bakery and representing the former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A series of talks on Blessed Karl followed at 10 a.m., beginning with some opening remarks by Mr. Ross pertaining to the historical backdrop of the reign of Blessed Karl, who ascended to the throne of the Empire in the midst of World War I. Suzanne Pearson, North American Delegate of the Emperor Karl Prayer League, then gave a talk entitled Blessed Karl, Fatima & the Great War: A Centennial Retrospect, in which she touched on the Emperor’s exemplary leadership during the War and his desire for peace, and his marriage with Servant of God Empress Zita. Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB, priest delegate of the League, in a talk entitled Blessed Emperor Karl for Today, then spoke on Blessed Karl’s virtues and spirituality and how they guided his governance of the Empire.
At 11:45, Mr. Ross conducted an interview with Princess Maria-Anna, whose parents were married by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in New York City in 1953. Among the topics they discussed were the princess’ time living with her grandmother, Empress Zita, and what she learned from her about her grandfather and the years during and after the War. At the conclusion of the program, three beautiful images of Blessed Karl were raffled off.
The event culminated with a Sung Mass at 12:30 p.m., where the choir of Mater Dei sang Austrian composer Joseph Haydn’s Little Organ Mass. They also sang his Kaiserhymn with the congregation during the veneration of a first-class relic of Blessed Karl.
About 275 people attended the event, traveling from different cities in Texas and even other states, and it was immensely well-received: Mr. Ross explains that he received emails, phone calls and even cards in the mail praising it. Saturday’s happenings were preceded by a free event in the auditorium of the Allen Public Library on Thursday, September 13th, with a similar but shorter program. That event was also packed.
To learn more about Blessed Karl, you can visit the Prayer League’s website at www.emperorcharles.org, and among other events you can attend is the yearly Solemn High Mass in honor of Blessed Karl at St. Mary Mother of God Parish in Washington, D.C., which will be celebrated this year on Saturday, October 20th. You can read our article about last year’s Mass, including a brief bio of Blessed Karl, here. +