This month’s Kudos Corner recognizes Fr. Jim Schutte, Pastor of St. Leo the Great.
As our parish focuses “Welcome the Stranger” this month…who better to recognize for doing just that than Fr. Jim? As pastor of our “Covenant Partner” parish, Fr. Jim is a shining example of reaching out in love and support to many people who have found their way from other countries to his parish in N. Fairmount. He has been the pastor of St. Leo for the last eight years. During that time, there has been a growing population of refugees from Burundi, Africa and an already established parishioner base of immigrants from Guatemala that has also increased significantly during this time.
In Fr. Jim’s words: “Originally St. Leo’s was founded by German immigrants and now it is being renewed and reformed by immigrants and refugees from Burundi and Guatemala. We have a few families from the Congo. The Burundians speak Kirundi and are learning English. The Guatemalans speak Spanish and are also learning English. The parish provides English Classes twice a week.” (Several Visi parishioners volunteer as teachers in “English As a Second Language” classes.) “We have a parish nurse with two associates - interpreters for each language. We have a very active and good food pantry that provides outreach to our communities and neighborhoods.” (Many Visi parishioners also volunteer at the Food Pantry!) “We are striving to become one parish together with a diversity of people: Africans, Guatemalans, some African-Americans and Anglo-Americans. We rely on partnerships with groups and parishes and the collaboration of time, talent and treasure. Our mission is one that everyone can join and it complements the mission statements of other parishes and groups: We are a welcoming Catholic Community, grounded in Eucharistic Prayer, celebrating our diversity and sharing God's love through ministries of serving and being present in our urban neighborhoods, while focusing on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. I am thoroughly enjoying being somewhat of a "local missionary" and being a pastor for the good people of St. Leo the Great and extending the Lord's welcome to anyone and everyone who comes to our doorsteps.”
Fr. Jim, a priest of the Archdiocese for 36 years, has been a real blessing to us at Visi as he shares his enthusiasm and inspiration in his homilies here. He radiates the joy of the gospel in all that he does.
Kudos Corner salutes Fr. Jim Schutte!