Fr. Myron G. Flax, O.F.M.Cap., of Via Christi Village Care Center in Hays, Kans., a veteran of 39 years as a Catholic missionary in the South Pacific, and eldest member of the Capuchin Province of Mid-America, died Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, just four days after his 92nd birthday.
Fifth of the nine children of Godfrey and Catherine (Weber) Flax, Father was born on Sept. 30, 1928, in Ransom, Kans., and named Godfrey after his father.
He attended Trego County public schools, had already finished high school, and was working on the family farm, when at 22 he decided to study for the priesthood. Because of the importance at that time of knowing Latin, the authorities asked him to repeat high school at St. Francis Seminary High School in Victoria, Kans. Thus he joined a class of early teenage freshmen and became a father figure to his boarding school classmates. After further studies at St. Fidelis College in Herman, Pa., and Capuchin College in Washington, D.C., he was ordained a priest by Bishop Frederick Freking of Salina on February 10, 1964.
Meanwhile he joined the Capuchin-Franciscan Order, changing his name to Myron, making a yearlong novitiate at Annapolis, Md., and making profession in the Order on July 14, 1958.
His first assignment as a priest was in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific, where he became the first non-indigenous person to enter the Gambe area in the land of the Huli people. He served about ten years among the Huli people near Tari, a year among the Wiru people at Pangia, two years among the Imbongu people at Ialibu, and four years among the people of the lower Mendi valley, before being named rector of the cathedral parish in Mendi in 1978, a post he held for 24 years. During this time he also used his skills as a mechanic in keeping a large fleet of missionary vehicles working under adverse conditions.
Fr. Flax returned to the States in 2003, and after theological updating at Aquinas Institute in St. Louis, served eight years as a confessor at the Catholic Chapel in the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs. A severe hearing loss forced him to retire from this ministry in 2011. He resided then at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria until February, 2020, when he moved to Via Christi Village.
Father was preceded in death by two sisters, Rose Flax and Helen Schuler, and five brothers, Ignatius, Lawrence, Leonard, Herman J., and Eugene. His sister, Sr. Mary Ann Flax, C.S.J., of Lexington, Nebr., is the sole surviving member of his immediate family.
Reception of the body and morning prayer will be celebrated at 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in the Basilica of St. Fidelis, Victoria, followed by Visitation until the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Friars' Plot at the St. Fidelis Cemetery, Victoria. Archbishop Stephen Reichert, O.F.M.Cap., archbishop emeritus of Madang and former bishop of Mendi, will be the main celebrant and homilist. Sr. Mary Ann Flax will serve as lector, and a number of Fr. Myron's nephews will be the pallbearers.
Memorials are suggested to the Capuchin Province of Mid-America, Inc., 3613 Wyandot St., Denver CO 80211.
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Services are entrusted to Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601. Condolences can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com or can be left at guest book at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com
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