Fr. Raphael Kitz, OCD
December 17, 1930 - June 10, 2018
Fr. Raphael (Richard Andrew) Kitz of St. Joseph, OCD, entered eternal life on Sunday, June 10, 2018. He was born December 17, 1930, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Fr. Raphael made his first profession of vows as a Discalced Carmelite Friar of the Province of St. Therese on September 30, 1954. He then made his solemn (lifetime) profession of vows on December 8, 1958. He studied theology at the International College of the Discalced Carmelites in Rome, Italy, and was ordained a Catholic priest there on September 19, 1959, in the church of San Marcello.
During his nearly sixty years of priestly, Carmelite life and ministry, Fr. Raphael served in many different capacities—confessor and spiritual director to various communities of Carmelite nuns and Carmelite seculars in the Province, professor at Dominican College in Houston, Texas, and superior and parochial assistant at our houses and parishes in San Antonio and Dallas, Texas. For the past 27 years, Fr. Raphael served at Marylake Monastery, in Little Rock, Arkansas, as novice master, being responsible for the initial formation in Carmelite spirituality of numerous young men pursuing a vocation in the Order of Discalced Carmelites
Fr. Raphael was known also for his ministry to the Carmelite nuns and Carmelite seculars of Little Rock, as well as for his ministry of helping out at Catholic parishes across Arkansas.
Fr. Raphael was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Florence (Bergland) Kitz. He is survived by his brother Ronald Kitz, his nephew Darren Kitz, a niece Laura (Kitz) Smith, a great nephew and great niece, Nathan Himley and Leandra Smith, and by his aunt, Telka Jennings.
Fr. Raphael was gifted with exceptional talent as a classical pianist and was deeply learned and widely read in Sacred Scripture and in the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross. He had a great love for animals, especially dogs, and was never without a pet cockatiel. He regularly fed the ducks and geese at Marylake.
His wisdom, kindness, and gentle humor made him beloved by his brothers in religious life and a treasured spiritual guide by those who benefitted from his priestly, Carmelite ministry.
A vigil service will be held in the evening of Thursday, June 14, at Marylake Monastery, Little Rock, AR. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated the next day, Friday, June 15, with burial in our Provincial cemetery on the grounds of Marylake Monastery.
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