by Roxanne King
Father Bill Kraus, O.F.M. Cap., 70, was elected Provincial Vicar for the St. Conrad Province during the April 22-26 Province Chapter meeting in Victoria, Kan. Father Bill, pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in San Antonio, Texas, also served as a counselor on the last Provincial Council. He previously served as a Provincial Counselor in the 1980s. In his 46 years of priesthood, he has also ministered as a seminary teacher, novice master, local superior, homeless shelter director, inner-city pastor, vocation director and in prison ministry. From 1998-2009 he did mission work at Yecora, a remote mountainous region of northern Mexico, where he assisted friars from the Capuchin’s Province of Western America both in evangelizing the local people and in helping form some as new Capuchin brothers. Born in Ransom, Kan., he holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and master’s degrees in theology and Franciscan studies.
Q: What are the responsibilities of the provincial vicar? In a small province the Provincial Vicar can continue in another fulltime ministry, which for me is pastor of a parish. As Provincial Vicar, I am to be available to handle the fraternal and business aspects of the province if the Provincial Minister is away, and to give advice and counsel, along with the other Provincial Council members, to the Provincial Minister. We’re brand new so we haven’t had conversations yet about how we’ll be doing that. In an election year there are always changes.
Q: What goals do you have for your position? A: My goal is to fill in for the Provincial Minister in his absence and to be of service and advice or consultation to him. Also, to work well with the Provincial Minister and with the Provincial Council because we need to serve as a team. Finally, to do whatever I can to serve the brothers in the province through the Provincial Council.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add or emphasize? A: I’m humbled by the confidence of the brothers and pleased to serve. I had a very good experience the last three years of being on the council. So I’m happy to return to the council and work with the Provincial and the counselors. As we go on in our lives and relationship with the Lord and our fraternity, I want us to be as strong and vital and open as we can be to the Lord working in us to promote our Capuchin life. We’re interested in the ministries we do as well, but our work, especially as counselors, is to strengthen and nurture Capuchin life for the Church and for the world. If the Lord raised up St. Francis and guided the Capuchin reform of the Franciscan order, that’s what we want to continue to give to the Church.
It’s our duty, responsibility and joy to give this charism to the Church … especially to young people who are looking to serve the Lord. If we strengthen our life it will be visible and attractive to those whom the Lord is calling to the same life.