May 1, 2023 | Vocations
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Deacon Christopher Kight’s chalice, gifted to him by the late Fr. Richard Powers. COURTESY OF DEACON CHRISTOPHER KIGHT

Soon-to-be ordained Kight cherishes chalice given by late Fr. Powers


As the date of my priestly ordination draws near, the story of how I received my chalice will be one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

In the summer of 2021, I was finishing up a two-year pastoral assignment at St. Joseph Parish in Bowling Green. This was a time I was questioning my vocation. I wasn’t sure if I should return to the seminary or not. One day, Fr. Richard Powers called me and greeted me with his usual “Child of God, where have you been?”

He asked me to visit him at his cabin near Owensboro. When I arrived, we sat and conversed for a while.  Before I left, he took me to his study and handed me a cardboard box. Inside the box was a nice, simple, chalice. I gave Fr. Richard a look of confusion. He told me he wanted me to have the chalice. I was surprised. I said “Father, don’t you want to wait until I’m ordained to give me this?” He responded, “No. I’m getting older and may be dead in a couple years.” I laughed and told him I would happily take the chalice and thanked him immensely. 

Fr. Richard then told me the chalice belonged to his brother Msgr. Bernard Powers who had “No use for it anymore.” When I returned to Bowling Green that afternoon, I told my pastor, Fr. Ryan Harpole, about the chalice. Fr. Ryan said, “He gave it to you. You have to stay in seminary now.” I responded, “Yeah, I guess so.”

This past fall I had the chalice replated. It turned out beautifully. Fr. Richard died on Feb. 13, 2023. I picked up the replated chalice later that week, and the chalice was used for Fr. Richard’s funeral.

I did not know Fr. Richard before my time in seminary. As soon as I joined, I started receiving letters from him on a regular basis. Soon it seemed like I had known him my whole life. He would often send money and would say “I know you don’t get a lot of money. Go out and have a cheeseburger on me.”  He always reminded me that he was praying for me. He asked for my prayers as well. No other priest was a bigger cheerleader for me and the other seminarians. 

I’m sure I can speak for the other seminarians from the diocese when I say that we loved him and miss him dearly. He is a role model for me and will always be remembered fondly by the priests and the faithful of the Diocese of Owensboro. 

Deacon Christopher Kight will be ordained a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro on May 20, 2023, at St. Thomas More Parish in Paducah.

Originally printed in the May 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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