by Roxanne King
Fr. Christopher Popravak - Provincial Minister
As his role as provincial minister nears end, Fr. Christopher reflects on his tenure, saying he traveled much, learned more, and enjoyed the opportunity to serve in a host of ways
In his nearly 45-year priesthood with the Capuchin Franciscan friars, Father Christopher Popravak has worked in a variety of ministries, ranging from associate pastor to teaching to prison ministry. Even so, he said there was much he had to learn over the last six years in his post as provincial minister. A New Jersey native with a doctorate in historical theology from St. Louis University in Missouri, previously Father Christopher has taught at a Franciscan institute in England, at a Capuchin seminary in Italy, and at his alma mater, St. Louis University. He has worked in postulancy, novitiate and post-novitiate formation programs. He served on the Capuchin's international Constitution Commission and was an associate pastor at Annunciation Church and at Holy Cross Church in Thornton.
Serving as provincial minister since 2013, in addition to his administrative duties, Father Christopher helps at parishes and prisons in the Denver Archdiocese. He also serves as corporate president of the Capuchin Development Office. During his time in office, he published a weekly newsletter, C-Notes. His tenure as provincial minister will come to end in April, during the province's chapter meeting in Victoria, Kan.
Q: What did your role as provincial minister entail? The most important thing was to animate the spiritual life of the friars. We also helped discern where people minister and serve: I worked with a four-man provincial council. We have been responsible for helping to promote vocations to our life. We also began a process of solidarity of personnel with three other provinces.
Q: What have you liked best about the provincial minister post? While I've been provincial I've also continued to do work at prisons and at a parish, St. Jude's in Lakewood. It's given me an opportunity to do a wide variety of things in the mission of the province.
Q: What are some of the objectives that were addressed during your term? In addition to helping to animate the spiritual life of the friars, because of the increase in our number of students, we also had to increase our income as best we could. We reorganized the administrative office. Part of our desire was to do more evangelization through various media, so among our new hires is J.P. Kloess, who is our digital and social media manager.
Q: Share a highlight of your tenure. I went with some of our benefactors to Papua New Guinea, visiting our missions there. That was certainly eye-opening for me. I relished the ability to share that with some of our donors.
Q: What was the greatest challenge of your role as provincial minister? My previous work wasn't involved in administration, so there was a lot to learn about administration, development and running an office.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add or emphasize? I simply accepted what the responsibility was and tried to do my best. I can only wait and see if it was helpful. In anything, we look for the fruits. We will see if our efforts produce good fruit or not. I tried to do the best I could.