Fr. John Toepfer, Capuchin Priest - 25 Years

Fr. John Toepfer, OFM Cap.

25th Ordination Anniversary

May 24, 2011

During these next two months, a number of friars are celebrating special anniversaries. On Sunday, May 22, 2011, Fr. John Toepfer will celebrate his 25th Anniversary of Ordination at the 10:00 a.m. Parish Mass at St. Joseph’s Church in Hays, KS. Fr. John was ordained there by Archbishop Ignatius Strecker on May 24, 1986. Fr. John came to us from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, but his roots and spirit are definitely Capuchin. He grew up in Hays (three houses away from where I grew up). He graduated from Hays High School but participated in the Vocation Program at Thomas More Prep Marian which is where I really got to know him. John participated in all the retreats and gatherings, including a trip to the seminary in Herman, PA, to visit St. Fidelis Seminary, which is where Capuchin students studied prior to novitiate. (There is also a great story about that trip which needs to be written up elsewhere.) John’s journey took him to Kansas University, and then to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas seminary program and to St. Meinrad’s Seminary where he completed his studies for priesthood in 1986. Four years later, in 1990, the relatively newly ordained priest began to lean once more toward the Capuchins. He entered Postulancy and, on August 12, 1992, Fr. John was invested in the Capuchin habit. He professed temporary vows at St. Joseph’s Church in August 1993 and then Perpetual Vows, again at St. Joseph’s Church in Hays, on August 5, 1996. I had the privilege of preaching at Fr. John’s first mass of thanksgiving at St .Joseph’s in 1986. I also had the privilege to receiving his first vows as provincial in 1993. (Incidentally, Fr. John served at my first mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Hays in 1971.) Those who know Fr. John experience his gentleness and compassion. He has a deep love for the Church and its liturgy. John is also fluent in Spanish, almost as if it were his first language. He has a love for the Hispanic culture, too. His Capuchin roots somehow never got “cut” even when he began his priestly ministry as a diocesan priest for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. His love for St. Francis and for the Capuchin Franciscan values has always been a part of who he is. Congratulations, Fr. John, on 25 years of priesthood. May God give you many more years! Fr. Charles Polifka, OFM Cap. Provincial Minister