Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Joseph Cappel served Chile as missionary

Priest was raised in Norwood

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORWOOD - The Rev. Joseph Henry Cappel, a Maryknoll missioner, traveled by bicycle to serve parishioners at outstations of the large parish in Curepto, Chile, where he served for more than 50 years.

Father Cappel, a priest for 68 years, died May 31 in Santiago, Chile. He was 95.

Born in Covington in 1908, he was part of a family that included seven sons. They moved to Norwood when Father Cappel was a child and he graduated from St. Mary High School in 1927.

With plans to become a diocesan priest for Cincinnati, he began studying at St. Gregory Seminary before joining Maryknoll Mission Association.

Father Cappel received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Dayton (1931) and a master's of divinity degree from Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y. (1935).

Ordained in 1935, he served at the Chu Ko Chin Mission in North Korea, a mountainous region near the Yalu River, on the border with China. There he ran a dispensary until World War II came to the Pacific in 1942.

Father Cappel was arrested by the Japanese and held in solitary confinement for a week before being interned for five months.

A prisoner exchange permitted his return to the United States in 1943. He was soon reassigned to Chile.

As pastor of a parish that served 9,500 in Curepto, Father Cappel oversaw a grade school, an asylum, a hospital and five mission chapels. During his tenure, 13 chapels and another school were added.

He became assistant pastor in 1976 and served at Curepto until his death.

"It is an absolute necessity to keep constant close contact with the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ as a sure way to discern the opportunities that can build the kingdom of God," Father Cappel said at his Golden Jubilee.

Survivors include two brothers, Charles H. Cappel of Ossining and John Cappel of Norwood.

Services were in Curepto, and Father Cappel's remains were buried at the parish cemetery.

Memorials: Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545.


E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com

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Joseph Cappel served Chile as missionary