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Capuchin leadership has local ties

By The Hays Daily News

New leadership for the Capuchin Province of Mid-America was elected at last week's chapter meeting in Victoria. Capuchin-Franciscan priests and brothers from three states, as well as Rome, attended the meeting.

Father Christopher Popravak, a native of New Jersey with ties to the Hays area, was elected to lead the Capuchins for the next three years, serving as provincial and director of postulants in Denver.

Popravak, 66, takes over for Father Charles Polifka, who has served as provincial minister for 13 of the past 25 years.

Assisting Popravek will be Father John Cousins of Colorado Springs, as provincial vicar, and Father David Songy and John Lager of Denver and Father Jeff Ernst, Victoria, all as provincial councilors. Ernst is pastor at St. Fidelis Church in Victoria.

Popravak entered the Capuchin order in New Jersey in 1964.

He is a 1970 graduate of St. Francis Seminary in Victoria and was ordained a priest in Hays in 1974, during his second year of teaching at Thomas More Prep.

He served eight years as a priest in parishes in Denver, Hays, and Thornton, Colo., and since then has served 24 years in helping to form young men in the process of becoming Capuchins.