Priest hopes to plant charismatic parish

Ron Burtz

Father Gabriel Farago has a fascinating background story, having escaped with his family from his native Hungary as a child when the Soviets invaded in the mid-1950s, and then becoming a Nashville recording artist and touring all over the U.S. He also has an interesting vision for ministry in his newly-adopted home of Custer.
Fr. Gabriel is an order priest (as opposed to a parish priest) in the Catholic Charismatic Church and has a desire to plant a parish in Custer but also to see the various Christian churches of the town come together in unity.
“I would like to see a real brotherhood of the churches come about,” he said.
He said he was surprised to learn there were already 15 churches in such a small town and says he would like to spearhead a communion of the various churches to come together for worship and unity.
“I’m not here to compete with anybody,” said Fr. Farago. “I’m not here to steal sheep.”
However, he said he does want to bring people into the fold who have never been in it or have wandered away. He also wants to minister to people who want to be a part of a Christian fellowship but have been disenfranchised by churches in the past.
He also said he wants to put his musical gifts to work in Custer.
“I really want to emphasize, it’s my plan, because of my music background, to establish a strong Christian music ministry,” he said.
Fr. Farago said the Catholic Charismatic Church is its own denomination and is part of the “Old Catholic Succession.” It was formed when a group broke away from Rome several hundred years ago but was later brought back under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II.
He said the communion is sacramental but is also evangelical (like the Baptists) and emphasizes soul winning and the importance of having a personal relationship with Christ. He said the group also believes in the inerrancy of Scripture and, because it’s charismatic, also emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit and the importance of being spirit-filled.
“I never really knew the Holy Spirit until I became a Pentecostal,” he said.
Fr. Farago was less than a year old when his family fled Hungary during the closing days of WWII and the family spent the next four years living in Austria. Later they emigrated to America with only five dollars in their pockets. Eventually he found his way to America’s Music City, Nashville, where he became a history teacher, recording artist, record producer, radio show host, motivational speaker and a stand up comic. He also became a published author during that time, writing a book entitled “Secrets to Success in Country Music” which came out in 2008. A copy of the book is in the collection of the Custer County Library.
“I took the long route to Nashville,” he laughed, thinking of his humble beginnings in eastern Europe.
He also took a circuitous route in eventually finding his way to his new home in Custer. He first came to the Black Hills as a young man with his family on their first trip to the western United States. His father wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. Later, as a musician, he often scheduled himself into venues in Rapid City because he felt drawn to the Hills. He regularly performed at the former Ponderosa Bar on the east side of town and later on at the Boot Hill downtown.
Although he doesn’t recall exactly when, he remembers one day discovering Custer where he bought a Harley-Davidson wallet at a souvenir shop. He still carries it to this day.
Then a year or so ago, he was again drawn to the Hills and came to stay with friends in Summerset. Several months ago he found his way back to Custer and, after inquiring at a convenience store, he found a place to stay and then later moved to the old Presidents Cabins east of town where he presently lives.
He said he has been looking for places to hold worship services and has spoken with the library about using facilities there for Bible studies and to celebrate the mass.
Anyone interested in meeting Fr. Farago and learning more about his vision is invited to call his cell phone at 615-934-2339 or email him at His website is

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