The Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA) joins Glenmary Home Missioners in congratulating Fr. Les Schmidt as he celebrates 60 years as a Glenmarian this year. Father Les is a founding member of CCA, was instrumental in the development of the original Appalachian pastorals This Land is Home to Me and At Home in the Web of Life, as well as CCA’s 2015 “People’s Pastoral” The Telling Takes Us Home. He now serves on CCA’s Advisory Board.
Glenmary Challenge Magazine reports:
Glenmary Father Les Schmidt spent time early in his Glenmary career working as an associate and substitute pastor, but his calling has been primarily to serve as a regional worker, advocating justice for the marginalized.
While he celebrates 60 years as a Glenmarian this year, Father Les has spent nearly 50 of them as a regional worker, most often based in Big Stone Gap, Va. Father Les has been active on the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and the Catholic Committee of the South. Though 82, Father Les is still active, addressing the issue of for-profit prisons, the need for immigration reform and other matters.
One of only a few Glenmarians who grew up in a Glenmary mission (he was a member of Holy Trinity in West Union, Ohio), Father Les continues to be an advocate for Christ’s kingdom on Earth.
“Following Pope Francis, my deepest hope is that we move from the world of fear and judgement, to one of grace and mercy,” he said.