Kurt Pritzl, OP (1952-2011)
By Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap.
Before I entered the Capuchins, Father Kurt Pritzl, OP, Dean of the School of Philosophy, was my spiritual director.
Kurt died entirely too young from cancer, but the effect that he had upon me and countless students is, without any hesitation, incalculable. The “Kurt” stories are endless, but today, as I presided at the 6:45 am mass (and then preached about Kurt’s witness with tears in my eyes and sand in my throat), two came to mind.
The first comes from the notebook of Catholic How contributor Katie Morroni, who shared this quip with me a few years ago:
On March 10, 2004, in Philosophy 201: The Modern Mind, Kurt said: “The most sublime idea you’ll ever have is the idea of God.”
Fast forward three years. I’m in Kurt’s office, he has just been diagnosed with cancer and I’m fretting over whether I could possibly be celibate for the rest of my life.
Kurt looks at me with a kindly smile – the smile that one only gains through prayer, a lot of grace, and a diagnosis of uncertainty: “Matt,” he begins and then pauses, “if you think about joining the friars as a postulant means that you’re promising to be celibate for the rest of your life, you’ll go crazy. Take it one day at a time.”
Three years later, the Domincan who believed that the most beautiful idea in the world was God had gone to meet Him precisely because he had lived in faith, day-by-day.
Sometimes, the best teachers show us what they told us.
Kurt Pritzl, OP, rest in peace.
KpOP, pray for us.