Christ the King Seminary Celebrates Gabriel Scarfia

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

Gabriel Scarfia teaching a theology class. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Wolf)

EAST AURORA, N.Y. — Friars, friends, and colleagues gathered last month to honor Gabriel Scarfia, OFM, who this year completed more than four decades as a faculty member at Christ the King Seminary.

Gabe taught systematic theology at the seminary for 45 years, beginning in 1972 when the school was in Allegany, N.Y. This summer, he moved to Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., and is now working at the friars’ St. Francis Chapel at a shopping center near Albany.

“It was my pleasure to live and work with him for several years, first at St. Bonaventure University and then after CKS moved to East Aurora in 1974,” said Dominic Monti, OFM, who spoke at the Nov. 16 event. “Even after the friars withdrew from sponsorship of the seminary in 1990, Gabe remained, carrying on the great tradition of our Province educating candidates for the priesthood and other ministries in the Church.”

“Over the course of 45 years, the seminary has been blessed by the ministry of Fr. Gabriel,” said Fr. Joseph C. Gatto, president-rector of Christ the King. “He has been a true example of the fullness of the Franciscan charism – theologically, spiritually and ecumenically given of himself and provided the seminary with a solid foundation for the training of both priestly and lay ministers for the Church. In many ways the seminary has transitioned through the years because of the dedicated and faithful ministry of Fr. Gabe.”

The celebration – which included a Mass at which Gabe presided, as well as a dinner – was part of an annual event held in November in conjunction with the feast of Christ the King, said Gabriel.

“We wanted to honor Gabe by inviting as many of the people who he’d touched throughout his career here – his friends and former students – as we could,” said Susan Lankes, director of institutional advancement at CKS. “He is loved by many.”

Gabriel at his celebratory dinner. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Wolf)

“It was good to see the seminarians again,” said Gabriel, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. “They were very joyful and welcoming.” Gabriel joined the Franciscans in 1957, professed his final vows in 1961, and was ordained a priest in 1964. He first taught at Christ the King from 1965 to 1967, before going to Belgium to study at the Catholic University of Louvain, where he earned his doctorate.

Gabe keeps alive the spirit of the Second Vatican Council in everything he teaches and preaches and in everything he does,” said Xavier Seubert, OFM, who is stationed at Christ the King.

Among other friars at Gabe’s celebration were David Blake, OFM, from St. Bonaventure, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, of St. Columba-Brigid Parish in Buffalo, N.Y., and Joseph Kotula, OFM, Kevin Kriso, OFM, and Louis McCormick, OFM, from Mt. Irenaeus in West Clarksville, N.Y.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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