Friday, June 20, 2008

George Torok the priest

George Torok the priest

No, that's not me. But apparently there is a priest named George Torok - same name as me. It's not often that I run into a Torok. It's an unusual name. The origin is Hungarian if you are wondering.

But to hear of another George Torok - now that is extremely rare. I'm the only George in my family. I was named after a George on my mother's side.

So imagine my surpirse to hear of another George Torok. Imagine my further surprise to learn that this George Torok is a Catholic priest. My grandmother would have been so delighted.

I guess that most of us hear of or run into name doubles - especially if your name is Smith or Jones. Occasionaly the antics of your name double can cause you credit or publicity troubles. These days it might get you on a "no-fly list".

Lucky me. This George Torok sounds like a good person with an impressive background. He is recently in the news because he is celebrating 50 years of religious service.

Well, my congrats to George. I'm pleased to share the same name. I hope that you don't mind having the same name as a marketing expert. Actually, I guess that we are both in marketing because marketing is about sending a consistent message with the purpose of influencing people.

Enjoy this clip from The Journal News of New York's Lower Hudson Valley.


June 20, 2008
Tappan priest celebrates 50 years of religious service
Hannan Adely
The Journal News

TAPPAN - During five decades as a priest, the Rev. George Torok has traveled the world on Catholic missions, produced documentary and educational films, and served New York parishes.
In 2006, he became a pastor for the first time, taking the helm of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Tappan.

On Sunday, the congregation will celebrate Torok's rich life and service to the Roman Catholic Church during Mass and at a picnic marking the 50th anniversary of his ordination. As that day approaches, Torok said he wanted to focus on the diversity of the parish and the spirit of friendship.

"I want everyone in this community to feel at home and to feel welcome," he said.
The path to priesthood was not easy for Torok, who grew up in Slovakia and was placed in one of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's concentration camps because of his faith. That had a profound impact on him, instilling in him a desire for freedom and democracy.

"When you're persecuted, you begin to pay for your faith and then it comes to you as something very, very precious that you treasure," he said.

At age 19, he escaped by plunging into the frigid Moravia River and fleeing to Austria. He eventually crossed the Alps into Italy, where he studied for the priesthood. He was ordained in a small village in Italy in 1958.

Over the years, Torok has taken on a number of spiritual and professional roles. He was chaplain to an Italian army group that trained to fight in the Alps.

"I celebrated my first Masses on the most beautiful peaks of the Italian Alps, he said. "Snow-covered, it was such a cathedral."

He earned a doctorate in theology and canon law and was an adviser to a bishop of Slovakia when the bishop visited the Vatican. He also participated in the Second Vatican Council, which he called the most exciting and important time in his life.

Torok first came to the United States in 1968, visiting a Slovakian parish in New York City where he joined as a priest later that year. He stayed there until 1982.

While serving that parish, he traveled the world on Catholic relief missions producing and filming documentaries and taking photographs. Through his film work in India, Torok developed a friendship with Mother Teresa.


Read the rest of the article here.

No question, my grandmother would have been delighted.

So if you see news about Rev George Torok - that's not me - that's the other guy.

How did I learn of this other guy? Another benefit of Google Alerts.

George Torok - the unholy one
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