An end of a journey, Father Phil Schotzko set to retire
“It’s like coming to an end of a journey”, said Father Phil Schotzko. Father Phil will be retiring on July 1, 2020.
“I’m retiring from being an administrator of an area faith community,” said Father Phil during an interview last week.
He’ll still be working from his home in St. Peter. Father Phil will fill in for priests who are taking time off or on sabbatical and retreat work. He’ll be operating out of a townhouse in St. Peter.
While Father Phil has served in Springfield and the surrounding area for the past seven years, he had deep roots in the community. He lived here as a youth until he was ordained here in the parish in 1977.
“I was ordained right here at St. Raphael. My mom taught third grade here…she was well loved. I’m still going on her reputation,” said Father Phil with a smile.
He continued saying, “My grandpa lived where I now park my car. There was a house on the westside of St. Raphael which was taken down. I’ve gone full circle of life here.”
When Father Phil was ordained here he printed a pamphlet titled “The Good News according to Phil’s Friends”
In the book is his Priesthood Statement and a saying that 43 years later is still a cornerstone to his life. The saying is “There’s a river of life flowing out through Me.”
Over 40 years ago he wrote his Priesthood Statement and Father Phil said that it was prophetic of his life. In part the statement says.
“For me priesthood is a channeling of the saving and healing power of the Lord Jesus, within the lives of His people. I have been called to stand as a special representative of God’s people before Him, and to be a special sign of His Life giving presence among them. “Recognizing my own unique gifts I sense that I am called to be a Minister of Prayer. All priests are called to be leaders in the sactamental prayer of the Church and to preach the Gospel, but beyond that I feel a gift and desire to integrate prayer into all facets of my ministry—in counselling, in hospital visitation, in retreat work and in prayer groups.
Through the gift of pastoral charity I hope, with the Lord’s help to be a strong affirmer of the good news resting in each person. Through word and gesture, time and gift, yes, lavishly poured out, I hope to make present and real God’s love and mine to each of his creatures, especially the young.
I will continually look for ways to encourage all to exercise their gifts creatively for the strengthening of the whole community.”
His kindness, care and support of the community has helped many.
“It’s been a very good time of service here, people here have been amazing and supportive. It’s going to be hard to leave,” said Father Phil. “In many ways it’s like the song from Cheer’s, ‘Everybody Knows Your Name’ I live in a place where everyone knows your name. This community is very tight and they’ll circle around you and support you.” I’ll be moving to a place that’s more unknown. It’s fine, but it’ll be a shift.”
See complete story in this week's issue of the Springfield Advance-Press.