In Memoriam
Father Charles E. Schmitz, SJ
Requiescat in Pace: Father Charles E. Schmitz, SJ

Father Charles “Chuck” E. Schmitz, SJ, entered into God’s peace February 18 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, Calif. He was 78 years old. A devoted priest and religious, “Padre Carlos” opened wide his heart to the needs, hopes, dreams, fears, and faith of the Spanish-speaking peoples of the Northwest. From celebrating the sacraments to championing human and legal rights, Fr. Schmitz brought a deep passion and energy to people, places, and institutions in and out of the Church.

Born in Seattle on June 29, 1938, to Charles E. and Florence (Karst) Schmitz, Charles Emmitt Schmitz was the oldest of three siblings. He grew up in Salem and attended St. Joseph Grade School and Sacred Heart Academy. He graduated from Seattle University in 1960. Originally set to be commissioned an officer through the ROTC program, he chose a different calling: religious life and the priesthood. Fr. Schmitz entered the Jesuit Novitiate (Sheridan, Ore.) in September 1960 and did the regular course of liberal arts and philosophical studies there and in Spokane.

Ever eager to do greater things, Fr. Schmitz volunteered and was sent to teach (with other Oregon Province Jesuits) in the minor seminary in Zambia, Africa. He returned to the U.S. two years later with great zeal for this work as he began his studies in theology for priesthood.Ordained a priest on June 17, 1972 in Spokane, Fr. Schmitz undertook graduate studies with hopes of returning to Zambia. Unfortunately, his offer to help seminarians in their educational goals was refused. Though it hurt him inwardly, Fr. Schmitz was able to regroup and soon other doors of ministry were opened to him.

Fr. Schmitz’s work took him to: graduate work at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif.; head of the Campus Ministry Department at Seattle University; pastor at St. Leo’s Church (Tacoma); Central America Liaison for the Jesuit Conference; minister and rector of Gonzaga Prep (Spokane); superior of St. Luke (Woodburn, Ore.), Socius to the Provincial, superior/coordinator of Ignatian Spirituality at St. Joseph (Yakima); and pastoral minister to Prince of Peace Church (Belfair, Wash). Prior to entering the Jesuit Tertianship program in Jalisco, Mexico, Fr. Schmitz immersed himself in the Spanish language and became a fluent speaker in a short period of time. A great joy of his was to lead Spanish speakers through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius or other forms of prayer.

One of the crosses Fr. Schmitz bore with great dignity and patience was the decline in his physical health in recent years. Accustomed to vigorous work, exercise, and play, he found himself in his later years significantly limited in energy and endurance. Walking the length of the building could easily tire him or bring much pain. Yet this did not detract from his love for watching and rooting loudly for the local sports teams (in person or on television).

Fr. Schmitz joined the Regis Community in Spokane for assistance in his health care needs in 2013; he joined his brother Jesuits in Los Gatos, Calif., in mid-January 2017 to receive skilled nursing care at the infirmary there. A sudden turn in his health alerted the nursing and religious staff to his impending death; several of the Jesuits at Sacred Heart Center joined with the superior to anoint Fr. Schmitz. In the early morning hours of February 18, Fr. Chuck quietly passed away.

Fr. Schmitz was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, John Schmitz. He is survived by his sister, Susan Valentine (Bainbridge Island, Wash.), two nieces and two nephews, five grandnieces/nephews, cousins, friends, and his brother Jesuits.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated March 4, 11:00 a.m., at the Jesuit House Chapel, Gonzaga University. Inurnment will follow at Mt. St. Michael Cemetery in Spokane. Donations in honor of Fr. Schmitz may be sent to the Senior Fund, Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286. Gifts may also be made at on our secure donation site.

Recent News

Father William John Stout, SJ, longtime teacher, chaplain, and parish priest, entered into God’s peace March 14, 2018 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, Calif. He was 85, a member of the Society of Jesus for 66 years and an ordained Catholic priest for 53 years.

Father Donald Cadden, SJ, entered into God’s peace on March 4 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, Calif. He was 93 and had been a priest for 59 years and a Jesuit for 71 years.

Superior General Father Arturo Sosa, SJ, has named Fathers Martin Connell, SJ, and Michael Boughton, SJ, new rectors for the two Jesuit theology centers in the United States in Berkeley and Boston, respectively.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) has announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Joan Rosenhauer to serve as the first woman in the role of executive director, leading the organization into a new era during a critical time for refugees.

Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, is hosting a new Bible-based show, "Scripture and Tradition," that debuts today on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The show replaces one of Fr. Pacwa's previous series, "Threshold of Hope.”

Father Thomas Reese, SJ, and other religious and laypersons were arrested February 27 for standing up for Dreamers in Washington, D.C. Read the story and watch the video.

On January 28, the community at St. Francis Xavier Jesuit Parish and School celebrated the installation of Pastor Father George V. Wanser, SJ, by Phoenix Diocese Bishop Thomas Olmsted.

view all news

Search news


Mission Magazine - Fall 2017

Mission Magazine - Fall 2016

Mission Magazine - Spring 2016

Fall, 2017

Summer, 2017

Spring, 2017

Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra
The Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra is an adult, youth, and family retreat center in Applegate, Placer County, California, for nonprofit groups of 20-130 (105 guests overnight; +25 additional beds in summer only).