Comboni Father Joseph Knapp, Rest in Peace
Fr Jude Eugene Burgers MCCJ – Comboni Father Joseph Valentin Knapp, formerly of Witbank and Pretoria, died on January 12, aged 77, in Bolzano-Bozen, northern Italy, six days after he was airlifted by helicopter to hospital from the parish he was living in.
Fr Knapp served in South Africa for 32 years, working in Witbank diocese at Glen Cowie, Luckau, Burgersfort and the Maria Trost Diocesan Pastoral Centre. He also worked in Pretoria archdiocese for several years.
Fr Knapp knew and spoke Northern Sotho very well.
In 2003 he returned to Europe and became the parish priest of two parishes in Bolzano-Bozen diocese in Italy’s South Tyrol region. The parishioners there will miss him dearly. Fr Knapp was probably their last resident priest.
He continued to support the Mission in South Africa after having returned to Europe, keeping in contact with people in South Africa and visiting periodically.
Fr Knapp fostered communication as well, organising trips by South African church choirs—of St Peter Claver in Mamelodi and Sacred Heart in Witbank—to Europe.
He also helped social projects financially and supported other activities in Witbank diocese and beyond.