Deacon Klaus D. Schulz, deacon at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Hamlin, died July 9, 2006, after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 66 years old.
Deacon Schulz was born in Marienburg, Germany, in 1940, and when he was 20 he and his grandfather emigrated to Rochester, where he met his wife, Renate. They were married in 1963, and in 1971 they became involved with the area’s Catholic charismatic renewal.
The couple opened their home for weekly prayer meetings and started a monthly charismatic Mass at St. Lawrence Church in Greece. Deacon Schulz gave seminars, workshops and retreats and founded Rayma, a monthly Christian publication which he produced for 12 years. In the mid-1980s he hosted a Catholic radio program called “Rayma Broadcast,” which aired on five stations in upstate New York.
Bishop Matthew H. Clark ordained Deacon Schulz in 1987, after he’d completed four years of training at St. Bernard’s Institute in Rochester. After his ordination he served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Good Counsel parishes in Rochester, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Greece’s St. Charles Borromeo Prayer Center. He also served for 10 years as spiritual director for the local St. Patrick’s Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order, of which Renate Schulz was president.
Deacon Schulz often planned and presented faith-formation programs for adults at the places he served because he firmly believed religious education was not just for children, Renate Schulz said.
“He always felt that adults need to be educated so they can educate their children,” she said. “Klaus’s biggest thing was to make God’s word real in your life; to make it something you can apply in your life. That was his heart’s desire.”
Deacon Schulz himself loved to learn, and the time he spent training for the diaconate was one of the highlights of his life, Renate Schulz added.
Deacon Schulz also was committed to serving others through his position as a deacon, and he had a wonderful sense of ministry, said Deacon Dick Lombard. As part of their diaconate-formation training, deacons Schulz and Lombard were sent to Kingston, Jamaica, to minister to the needy. While there, Deacon Schulz — a house painter by trade — used his free time to paint the local church with the help of a few parishioners, Deacon Lombard said.
“That would be a good way of summing up much of his life,” he said. “He couldn’t help but help.”
Deacon Schulz was respectful of all people and was a valuable addition to his parish’s ministry team, said Father William Spilly, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
“He was very caring, personable and concerned about the individual. (He was) dedicated to the church, and yet he was very humble about his duties as a deacon,” Father Spilly said.
It may have been his humble nature, combined with his sense of humor, that prompted him to always end his homilies with the same phrase, his wife noted.
“He always closed his homilies with, ‘Thank you for listening. May the Lord bless us all real good,'” Renate Schulz said.
Along with his wife, Deacon Schulz is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Claudia and Timothy Goetzman and Gwendolyn and Joseph Bianchi; brother, Eckehard Schulz; sister, Roselinda Nehb; two grandchildren, Gunnar and Lillian Rose Goetzman; and nephew, Philip Nehb.
Deacon Schulz’s funeral liturgy was celebrated July 11, 2006, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, and interment was at Riverside Cemetery in Rochester. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Lawrence Fund (Permanent Diaconate Benevolent Fund), care of the Diocese of Rochester, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624; to St. Mary’s Hospice; or to Journey Home, 994 Long Pond Road, Rochester, NY 14626.