Parish pays tribute to its late pastor - Catholic Courier

Parish pays tribute to its late pastor

He may have died 20 years ago, but it’s clear that the spirit of Msgr. Albert Schnacky still lives in the hearts of parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Mendon.

The parish paid tribute to its late pastor — for whom the parish community center is named, as well as a parish theater troupe — during weekend Masses Jan. 21-22. The tribute included spoken accolades, musical works and the presentation of a CD slideshow of photographs of the priest that was shown between Masses, according to Evelyn Wilson, who chaired the committee that organized the celebration.

“He was a beloved priest who knew most, if not all, of his parishioners by name,” Wilson said. “He cared deeply about the worries and problems that each member of his flock faced in their everyday life. … His presence is truly missed by me and all those who knew him.”

Msgr. Schnacky passed away Jan. 22, 1986, after coming to St. Catherine’s 30 years before as a part-time administrator. He was named the parish’s first pastor in 1970, and also served as the chaplain of the Mendon fire department, according to a parish history. The priest also took part in the early planning of a community park for children, which was completed after his death.

The pastor was well-known to dog-lovers for his German shepherd, Heidi. The parish history states that the dog “led processions, witnessed weddings and heard Mass while stretched out on the sun dappled altar carpet.”

In a recent St. Catherine’s bulletin, Father Paul Schnacky, the monsignor’s brother, described his sibling as a civic-minded pastor who was always thinking of different ways to bring people together.

“He was a good brother to me, and a good example that I tried to follow in my work,” Father Schnacky wrote.

Richard Shone, a parishioner at St. Catherine’s for more than 35 years, spoke about Msgr. Schnacky at the weekend Masses.

“He was the most Christian man I have ever known,” Shone said. “You did not get to like him — you immediately liked him the minute you met him. He was a true gentleman.”

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