Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 24, 2000
Calgary pastor dies of cancer
Schmelz served parish for 18 years
Special to the WCR
Pallotine Father Josef Schmelz, long-time pastor at St. Cecilia's Parish in Calgary, died here Dec. 18. He was 69.
From 1960 to 1968, Schmelz taught in St. Mary's High School in Calgary, St. Francis High School in Calgary and St. Mary's High School in Edmonton. He then entered parish ministry, serving in parishes in Ontario and Manitoba before coming to St. Cecilia's in 1981.
Born in Vechta, Germany, Schmelz made his first vows in 1952, was ordained in 1956 and was sent to Canada a year later.
Schmelz was known as a priest whose gentle spirit permeated the community and whose personable and inviting approach brought people closer together as a parish family.
He had a way of making people with whom he celebrated feel special - the bride and groom, the family of the deceased, as well as the parents of the infant to be baptized. His pastoral ministry was characterized by joy and deep thankfulness.
He had a special love for children, taking care to arrange children's liturgies, children's retreats and even a children's choir during his years at St. Cecilia's.
With eyes and heart wide open, he could see the times of encounter with others as moments of grace and blessing. Shortly before his death he could say, "I see the beauty and grace of God in all people."
As a member of his community, Schmelz was a member of its delegature council from 1981 until 1999 and served as provincial delegate for Canada during the last six of those years.
He took great pains to give the Pallottine community deeper roots in the Canadian Church. The fostering of vocations was always dear to his heart, and he was a passionate advocate of unity and collaboration among all Pallottines in North America.
Schmelz was a man of many and varied talents. His interests ranged from photography to the computer and the Internet, all of which he sought to employ for the sake of the apostolate.
In the last years he built up a Pallottine web site to enhance and foster world- wide communication among all people working in the Pallottine spirit. He viewed the Internet and e-mail as ways of Pallottine presence, as new ways for the word of God to reach modern men and women.
He was also a man of musical talent, who loved to play the organ and who had a refined taste in classical music.
The last years of his life were marked by considerable physical suffering from his cancer.