Requiem in Aeternam: Fr. Kurt Pritzl, OP

Dear Readers,

One of my heroes in the Dominican Order died today. He had been battling cancer for some time now, so it was not unforeseen – but it was a shock, as I had thought that he was in recovery. Fr. Kurt Pritzl was a genius philosopher and a very holy, humble man. I knew him as a philosophy professor at Catholic University, where he was the chair of the department. He taught my senior seminar and was both very kind and challenging to his students. I remember one guy in that class who had been a business major – after one class with Fr. Kurt, he changed his major to philosophy!

Fr. Kurt could certainly grow on people, and I took him personally as someone I looked to as a living example of what a Dominican should be: humble, intelligent, willing to see the good in the other person’s view and life, heavily active in saving souls, intensely holy, and someone who preached first through love but also was not slow in preaching the Gospel when the occasion arose.

Fr. Kurt Pritzl, OP

Last night, I had not heard of his death before I went to bed. I had a very interesting dream, however, that Fr. Pritzl (whom I have not seen personally in about 2 years) came to me and gave me a hug. It was very simple – after that, he just disappeared into light. I cannot but, having now heard of his death, take this to mean that he is in Paradise. I encourage you, personally, to both say a prayer for his happy repose and – even more so – to also pray to him, as I’m sure he wouldn’t disappoint.

He gave a talk very recently before his death that was video-taped – a homily on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. I recommend you watch and listen to him, as the talk itself is both enlightening and an example of holiness:

The full homily can’t be embedded, but it’s at: http://vodpod.com/watch/3522492-fr-kurt-pritzl-op-on-the-feast-of-st-thomas

Here is an embedded copy of excepts from that homily:

Here’s his CUA bio, to get an idea of all he did:

Fr. Kurt Pritzl, O.P. 

Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P., is Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. He specializes in ancient Greek philosophy, particularly the philosophy of the early Greek thinkers and Aristotle regarding the theory of knowledge, theories of soul and philosophical anthropology.  He has also lectured and published on the role of philosophy in the formation of seminarians. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Father Pritzl earned a bachelor of arts degree from Marquette University and the master of arts and the doctor of philosophy degrees in philosophy from the University of Toronto. In addition to his studies in philosophy Father Pritzl was graduated with the master of divinity degree in theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D. C. He joined the Dominicans in 1986, made solemn profession in 1990, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. Father Pritzl has served as Regent of Studies of the Province of Saint Joseph (1993-1997) and as a member of its Provincial Council (1993-2002), its Intellectual Life Commission (1993-2002, 2004-2006), and its Vocation Council (2002-2006).  He is also a member of the Corporation and Board of Trustees of Providence College (1994-2002, 2005-  ).

In addition to his academic duties at The Catholic University of America Father Pritzl preaches regularly at parishes and retreat centers in the Washington area, serves as a chaplain in the Teams of Our Lady movement, and has been invited to serve as spiritual director at annual conferences of diocesan pro-life and natural family planning directors by the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Yours in Christ,

Br. James Dominic, OP

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  1. #1 by Andrea Hunt on February 22, 2011 - 12:20 pm

    I met Fr. Kurt shortly before he presided at our marriage in 2008–he and my husband were deans at Catholic together–and have kept in touch since then. Kurt had a unique warmth and a loving presence. A holy man, indeed. We will miss him very much.

  2. #2 by Conor Dugan on February 22, 2011 - 1:21 pm

    Fr. Kurt was as a friend described him, a “prince of a man.” He’d have taken you calling him chairman of philosophy as a gentle ribbing, as he was the Dean of the School of Philosophy — one of two in America, USC being the other. I actually was told to rib him by joking with him that he was chairman.

    He is among the best men I have ever known. Thanks for sharing your dream. I visited with him about a month ago and spent 3 hours with him. He still was gracious as can be and had that impish smile of his.

  3. #3 by Sr. Mary Catharine on February 25, 2011 - 9:14 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to our brother. His holiness just radiated from him. He was a true brother, always a gentleman. He was one of the most wonderful persons I have ever met. I always wondered if my impressions of him were accurate but from reading different entries on the internet I see that everyone was left with this same impression. I used to think of Bl Jordan when I would be with Fr. Kurt.

    May our brother Kurt rest in the joy of the vision of God and may he pray for us!

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