Msgr. Knapp celebrates 61 years 

Msgr. Kenneth Knapp delivers the homily during Mass April 28 at Christ the King Church. Msgr. Knapp, a retired priest with the diocese, recently celebrated 61 years as a priest. The Message photo by John Rohlf

For a video from the Mass, click here

By John Rohlf

The Message Assistant Editor

Msgr. Kenneth Knapp was honored April 28 with a Mass to celebrate his 61 years as a priest.

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated Mass at Christ the King Church in Evansville, which is part of Annunciation Parish. Msgr. Knapp, Father Benny A. Chacko and Father Riji George concelebrated the Mass.

A senior priest of the Diocese of Evansville, Msgr. Knapp was ordained in March 1963. He held many positions in the diocese, including diocesan Vicar General and director of Catholic Charities. He was assigned to Christ the King Parish in 1995. He served the parish until his retirement in 2012. Among the projects completed in his tenure at the parish were the parish hall addition and renovation of the church.

“I thank God for the gift of Msgr. Knapp on behalf of Annunciation Parish for his wonderful 61 years of priestly life and all the good things he has done for our parish,” Father Chacko said at the end of the Mass.

Msgr. Knapp delivered the homily at last weekend’s 11 a.m. Mass, admitting “it’s been awhile.”

“I want to thank Father Benny and his parish and the people who made this possible today,” Msgr. Knapp said. “Bishop Siegel for gracing us with his presence. And all of you, who have come to celebrate this day.”

Deacon John McMullen reads the Gospel. The Message photo by John Rohlf

Msgr. Knapp said during his homily that the Sunday readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter were all about connectedness, specifically referencing our union with God, our connectedness in Jesus and our union and connectedness with one another. Over the years, Msgr. Knapp said he has come to realize our God is a God of compassion, love and forgiveness.

Msgr. Knapp said one of the best places in the Gospel about forgiveness is the story of the prodigal son. He continued about 1,200 years after this message, St. Francis of Assisi said to his followers to preach the Gospel always and to use words when necessary.

“Our second reading says that to us fairly clearly,” Msgr. Knapp said. “That we should live the Gospel, that we should care for one another, that it should be visible to us by the way we treat one another.”

Referencing the Gospel reading for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Msgr. Knapp noted in the reading Jesus says he is the vine and we are the branches.

“In a way, we’re all connected,” Msgr. Knapp said. “We’re connected through this Christ. We’re connected through what we want to happen to us. We’re connected with what we do to others.”

Msgr. Knapp said at the end of the first reading for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, it says the Church in Judea, Samaria and Galilee were at peace. It is difficult for us today as the Church is not always at peace but we have that in our hands, Msgr. Knapp said.

“We have the ability to make this Christ present to stay united to that vine,” Msgr. Knapp said. “And he promised us when we do that, we will indeed bear fruit. We are all part of this. We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re all connected to a Father who first loved us and asked only that we return that love for him.”

Msgr. Knapp asked that as the congregation celebrated April 28 and as they went about their life this past week, they bring that peace and love to others.

“Remember in doing so, you’re doing what he asked us to do. Love one another as he has loved us,” Msgr. Knapp said.

There was a reception for Msgr. Knapp following Mass in the narthex.

Father Benny A. Chacko accepts the gifts. The Message photo by John Rohlf