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Francis X. Schweitzer

  • "I was grieved to hear of our good Fr. Schweitzer's passing...."
    - Stephen Paul Howard
  • "thank you father for helping me with my family with food..."
    - darlene turner
  • "Once you meet him, you will always remeber how nice he was."
    - Fred Fischer
  • "I can only admire the work that you did Father , many..."
    - Brenda Redman

Schweitzer Monsignor Francis X. Schweitzer, a Roman Catholic priest in the Columbus Diocese for 68 years, and longtime pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church died on October 22, 2013. He was 93 years old. He was born on May 8, 1920 in Delaware, Ohio. His parents were Frank X. Schweitzer and Nellie Connors Schweitzer. He was baptized at St. Mary Catholic Church, Delaware, Ohio, by Rev. John H. Wagner on May 23, 1920. He was a man who dedicated his entire life to provide for the basic necessities of life to the hungry, the homeless, and the poor. The number of lives that he touched in a caring, compassionate, and dignified fashion is immeasurable. Msgr. Schweitzer had seven brothers and sisters, all of whom predeceased him. They include Frances Schweitzer Passon, Mary Schweitzer LoPresti, Barbara Schweitzer Flahive, James Schweitzer, Joseph Schweitzer, Johnny Schweitzer, and Robert (Bobbie) Schweitzer. In September, 1934, he left home after the 8th grade and enrolled at St. Charles Catholic Preparatory School, Columbus, Ohio. He entered the Seminary at Mount St. Mary's of the West in Norwood, Ohio in 1942. On October 27, 1945, he was ordained a Catholic Priest by Bishop Michael Ready at St. Joseph Cathedral, Columbus, Ohio. He held his first Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church, Delaware, Ohio on October 28, 1945. His pastoral assignments included St. Nicholas, Zanesville (1945-1950), Corpus Christi, Columbus (1950-1953), St. Mary of the Assumption, German Village, Columbus (1953-1955), and Our Lady of Lourdes and Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio (1955-1967). For one year he was granted a leave of absence to work with migrant farm workers and the poor of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. On February 19, 1970 Bishop Clarence Elwell assigned him to Holy Family Catholic Church, 588 W. Broad Street, Columbus with instructions to either close the church or make a mission of it. As a result of his efforts, Holy Family remains open today. After his retirement in 1997, and at the kind invitation of Holy Family's pastor, Father Kevin F. Lutz, Msgr. Schweitzer remained a vital part of the Holy Family community, celebrating daily Mass until May 2013 when his health prevented him from continuing to do so. In 1979, in response to the growing need to help the hungry and homeless of the Bottoms and Franklinton area, Msgr. Schweitzer started the Holy Family Soup Kitchen, which remains a vital part of Franklinton today. He first realized the magnitude of the number of people in the community who lacked basic human sustenance and shelter when homeless and hungry Vietnam War Veterans began asking him for food and a place to sleep. The soup kitchen at Holy Family now feeds 300-500 hot meals daily and provides assistance from the food pantry to an average of 250 families per week. Upon his retirement from active duties as a priest in 1997, he resided in Nazareth Towers until 2009 when he moved to assisted living communities due to his advanced age and declining health. Although he touched many lives, there are numerous people who touched his life and assisted him in so many ways throughout his priesthood and in his later years as he struggled to continue the work of God and the Catholic Church. Special thanks are extended to Father Kevin F. Lutz for his compassionate care, comfort and concern that he extended to Msgr. Schweitzer in his retirement years and providing for whatever was needed for Msgr. Schweitzer to continue being a part of the Holy Family community. Thanks are also extended to the entire Holy Family parish community, whose prayers and acts of kindness assisted Msgr Schweitzer in transition from active priesthood thru retirement and continued on a daily basis until his death. He would want to express his gratitude and extend his blessings to many, many people, but especially to Charles Northington, Mary and Ed Modic, Sheila Lutz, Joe and Sally Pfeffer, Dan Taynor, Alan Mooney, Linda Henry, Pam Beech, Diana Korb, Doug and Mary Rita Belmonte, Joe and Betty Regan, Laura Warren, Joe Asbeck, Sister Pauline and the caregivers at Mother Angeline McCrory Manor, the staff and caregivers at Columbus Rehabilitation and Sub-Acute Institute, and the hospice nurses and caregivers at Sunrise on the Scioto. Msgr. Schweitzer's remains will lie in state Sunday from 2-6 p.m. at Holy Family Soup Kitchen, 57 S. Grubb St. and 6-9 p.m. in Holy Family Church, 584 W. Broad St. as well as Monday 9-10 a.m. in the church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church, 584 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215 on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10 a.m. Bishop Frederick F. Campbell Celebrant. Father Kevin F. Lutz will be the homilist. Burial will be at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, South Sandusky St. Delaware, Ohio. Msgr. Schweitzer requested that a Rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary be said in his memory asking for intercession in an effort to eradicate poverty, hunger and homelessness. He lived his life in accordance with one of his favorite scriptural passages from Proverbs: "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard." Should anyone desire to make a donation in his memory, Msgr. Schweitzer requested that it be made to Holy Family Soup Kitchen, 584 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215 or to Cristo Rey Columbus High School, 840 West State Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Arrangements by EGAN-RYAN FUNERAL HOME.

Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Oct. 24 to Oct. 25, 2013
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