Wednesday, May 16, 2012

R.I.P - Fr. Cyril Crawford, OSB

Brothers and sisters, Early Tuesday we heard from Belgium that our alumnus, Fr. Cyril Crawford, OSB, a monk of St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana had died suddenly in his sleep. His death follows hard on the heals of the deaths last year of Fr. Jorge Gomez and Stanley Kariuiki on Tulsa who were killed in automobile accident just before the beginning of this formation year. Fr. Cyril, who graduate in the class of 2007 was known to some of you. His spirit was a great one and his legacy will live on in the imaginations of many. Fr. Cyril was working on a dissertation on Maximus the Confessor at the time of his death. His pastoral interests gave him many other connections both in Belgium and in the United States. I am attaching here the memorial notice prepared by my friend, Dr. John Steffen for the American College of Louvain website. Father Cyril was born on February 14, 1966. He made his profession as a Benedictine monk on July 10, 2001 and was ordained to the priesthood on April 28, 2007. His monastery, Saint Joseph Abbey in Saint Benedict, Louisiana (USA), sent him to study at the Catholic University of Leuven in the fall of 2008. During the 2008−2009 academic year, he completed a Masters in Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, for which he wrote a thesis entitled, “Epitedeiotes in Saint Maximus the Confessor: A Study in Perichoresis.” He then began the doctoral program the following academic year, researching a dissertation on the significance of the concept of dynamis in the works of Saint Maximus the Confessor. Father Cyril was a beloved member of the American College graduate community until the College was closed in June 2011, at which time he moved into the Chinese College. He was instrumental in reviving the Sunday Eucharistic community that had been worshipping at the American College. While he did not wish to be called the “pastor” of our Sunday community, he was truly our good shepherd. Father Cyril’s body will be repatriated to the United States for burial at Saint Joseph Abbey. In accordance with his Benedictine vocation, Father Cyril was a man of God and a man for others, a warm and convivial personality who always saw the very best in all persons and situations. Blessed with the dual powers of sagacity and common sense, Father Cyril was able to promote and exemplify Christian values simply by lending his ear to those who sought his advice and counsel, and by extending a hand of friendship to those in need of spiritual comfort and fellowship. In this manner he was able to touch the lives of the numerous seminarians, graduate students, members of his congregation, and faculty members that came within his orbit. Even in an age when many choose to be cynical at the sight of a Benedictine habit, Father Cyril was able to assuage the doubts of those who would deny the value and integrity of a monk's vocation by means of a simple humanity, generosity, and humility. Father Cyril left an indelible impression on the lives of those he touched. We will miss him terribly and grieve his passing; and yet, we must be alive to the splendid truth to which his wonderful life gave witness: namely, that there is always hope and love in the Lord and that in growing together in piety and prayer we shall all be one in Him who extends his loving embrace to us all. Father Cyril taught us so very much; we pray that we may see him again. May his soul rest in peace. A faithful friend is a strong defense, for when his friend is prospering he is a good counselor and sympathetic collaborator, and when he is in distress he is his sincerest supporter and most sympathetic defender. —Saint Maximus the Confessor