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Raphael Kitz

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Published: June 13, 2018

Fr. Raphael (Richard Andrew) Kitz of St. Joseph, OCD, entered eternal life on Sunday, June 10, 2018. He was born on 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 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 ministry, Fr. Raphael served in many different capacities: confessor and spiritual director to various communities of Carmelite nuns and Carmelite seculars, professor at Dominican College in Houston, Texas, and parish ministry 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 of numerous young men for 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 all around the state of Arkansas.

Fr. Raphael was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Florence (Berglund) Kitz. He is survived by brother Ronald Kitz, nephew Darren Kitz, niece Laura (Kitz) Smith, great nephew and niece Zachary Smith and Leandra Smith, and aunt, Telka Jennings.

Fr. Raphael was gifted with extraordinary talent as a classical pianist and was a scholar of Scripture and of the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross. He had a great love for animals, especially his dogs, his cockatiels, and all the ducks and geese at Marylake. His wisdom, kindness, and gentle humor made him beloved of his brothers in his religious community and a treasured spiritual guide by those who benefitted from his priestly ministry.

A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at Marylake Monastery, 5151 Marylake Drive, Little Rock, Ark. 72206. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the monastery at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 15, with interment immediately following.

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