Encouragement For the Pastor


By encouragement from a Dominican sister and the grace of God, the Rev. Henry Schmidt has published his book “The Pastor’s Sandal Path.”

Schmidt, 79, a Carrollton native, has been a Catholic priest for 53 years. His book is a compilation of his weekly Pastors Sandal Path series from January 1999 through June 2005, written while he was pastor at Our Church of the Little Flower in Springfield and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Carrollton.

A collection of his weekly “letter” to parishioners, he draws on anecdotes based upon his vision of God in nature and in everyday events.

Schmidt said he always loved to write and while at Our Church of the Little Flower, had been encouraged to write a weekly “newsletter” depicting his week’s activities: where he went, who he met and meetings he attended.

“I am not sure what prompted me to change the format of my weekly writings except wondering who on earth cares about what meetings I attended,” Schmidt said.

He said he has always been inspired by nature, having grown up on a rural Greene County farm with a sister and five brothers, and parents who instilled in him the presence of God in their daily lives as well as in nature.

While serving at Our Church of the Little Flower, where he served from 1991 to 2002, he began his weekly “letter.” He was assigned to St. John the Evangelist in July 2002 and continued his weekly Pastor’s Sandal Path letter, which goes out to the Greene County parishes he serves: St. John’s in Carrollton, All Saints in White Hall and St. Michael in Greenfield. The weekly letter is also available at their website, stjohnscarrollton.com.

“I doubt that I would ever have considered publishing had it not been for Sister Mary Joan (Sorge), who kept in touch with me and encouraged me to publish my letters as a book,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt wears sandals year-round, and his weekly writing reflects the journey he takes on his faith path, hoping his anecdotes of encountering God in everyday life experiences and in nature will touch others.

“I have been surprised by the very positive reaction to my book, but shouldn’t be, as God is certainly the one inspiring my ideas,” Schmidt said. “I never thought God would lead me to publishing, but then God does work in mysterious ways, and I will be grateful if the book touches just one person on their spiritual journey.”

What other resources do you know of to help encourage a pastor? Please post them in the comments!

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