Jesuit Father Francis Schemel, died on Aug. 4, 2018, at the age of 93, doing the job he loved, serving the Georgetown community.
He was born in Archbald, Pennsylvania, on March 7, 1925. He attended both the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Scranton as a pre-med student and entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, in 1946. He received his B.A. from Woodstock College in Maryland, an M.A. in modern humanities from Bellarmine College in Plattsburg, New York, and his degree in sacred theology also from Woodstock. He was ordained a priest on June 22, 1958.
Fr. Schemel taught German at Loyola Blakefield High School in Baltimore through 1968 and was then assigned as a minister for three years at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He returned to the States in 1971 and served as minister and treasurer at New York’s Woodstock College.
In 1975, he began serving the Jesuit communities in Washington, D.C., first as minister of the Leonard Neale House and then also as minister and treasurer of the Carroll House. Following a one-year stint as assistant treasurer at Georgetown Prep in 1984, Fr. Schemel began what would become a more than 30-year tenure at Georgetown University.
He first served as campus minister through the mid-nineties, then as chaplain to the staff, where he counseled and advised individuals and groups. His motto at Georgetown was, “Everyone grows physically, and that’s something we can’t control. We grow intellectually through life experience and our jobs. I am here to help people grow spiritually.”