As part time priest, the focus will be on love
As head of Our Lady Grace Church, Fr. Bob Schwartz was busy. The job required a lot of administrative duties, including leading a large congregation and running a school.
The job didn’t leave him a lot of time to talk and connect with people and share God’s love.
After 12 years with Our Lady Grace, Schwartz retired. At 72, he hopes to continue sharing the love of Jesus Christ but more on his own terms. He’ll do that as a part-time member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church staff.
“In retiring, I gave up the complaint department. I want to just be a priest,” said Schwartz.
As just a priest, Schwartz hopes to make Jesus Christ known and loved. In particular, Schwartz enjoys celebrating the liturgy, being with people and listening when an ear is needed.
“I have time now to spend individual time with people. I think some people need to be listened to,” said Schwartz.
Fr. Paul Jarvis asked Schwartz to come to St. Joseph. Years ago, Jarvis was an associate pastor for Schwartz at Our Lady Grace. Schwartz said he was flattered that Jarvis would want his old boss to work with him again.
While his position is part-time, Schwartz wants to be an active member of the St. Joseph community. He said people are important to him and he hopes to develop relationships with the parishioners.
“I want to belong,” said Schwartz.
Schwartz will begin his stint at St. Joseph at Aug. 16.
A life of love
Schwartz grew up in Minneapolis and attended public schools. His family attended church regularly but the priesthood wasn’t expected of him.
As a senior in high school, Schwartz said, the Elvis Presley song, “Fools Rush In,” haunted him. He couldn’t shake the line, “Wise men say only fools rush in, But I can’t help falling in love with you. Take my hand, take my whole life too. For I can’t help falling in love with you.”
The words meant something, but it took Schwartz time to figure out what the lyrics meant to him.
He had been to two senior proms with two different women and love was on his mind. However, in the end, his adoration for Jesus Christ directed his path.
“In a move that was surprising to both me and my parents I chose to go from public high school to the college seminary. In God’s provocation my vocation has always been about finding and embracing love,” Schwartz explained in a letter to the Our Lady Grace congregation.
Schwartz said falling in love with Christ led him to falling in love with people. In return, Schwartz said he has been loved and cared for.
“It’s been a very good life. It’s been filled with God and love,” said Schwartz.
As the next chapter of his life begins, Schwartz said he’s excited to get to know and fall in love with a new congregation.
After all, he can’t help it.