Three generations of the Schultz family gathered for some friendly pre-Father’s Day banter one recent Saturday afternoon. Except for the location, it was a typical family get-together.
Father Patrick Schultz, his father, Richard (Rick) Schultz, and his grandfather, Richard (Dick) Schultz, were hanging out at the Communion of Saints Parish rectory in Cleveland Heights, where Father Patrick is assigned as a parochial vicar. They chatted about sports, family news, vacation plans and food – especially their love of grilling. Laughter and good-natured jabs punctuated the conversation.
It’s obvious the trio enjoys spending time together.
“We do a lot of things as a family,” said Father Patrick, who was ordained a year ago.
Rick is a retired CEO who owned a surgical instrument company and works as a consultant. Dick, also retired, spent 25 years as an educator in the Maple Heights schools. Rick, his wife, Michelle, and Dick, who is widowed, are members of St. Mary Parish in Hudson.
When asked why he wasn’t named after his father and grandfather, Father Patrick said, “I am. I’m Patrick Richard.”
With warm spring weather finally here, their thoughts – and conversation – turned to boating, golf and tennis, three favorite recreational pastimes. Dick said he got interested in tennis when he was in his 30s. “I was bad at golf and wanted to do something more physical,” he said. He was competitive, participating in the U.S. Tennis Association and winning titles at the state and regional levels. “I went to regionals with Rick,” he said. Dick played tennis until he was 72 and suffered a detached retina, which hampered his depth perception. However, he remains active by participating in the Silver Sneakers program about three times a week.
“And he takes care of the ‘old people’ in Hudson,” his son said.
“Everybody played tennis,” Dick said, including Father Patrick and his brother, Scott, who is six years younger. “They were very good,” Dick said.
Father Patrick said he didn’t participate in scholastic sports in high school, but he continued to play tennis and golf. He also was very active in Taekwondo, a Korean martial art that he began doing in preschool – after watching the animated “Power Rangers” TV show and having a Taekwondo studio visit his preschool.
“I remember Patrick telling me he could see himself on the podium at the national (Taekwondo) championship,” Rick said. “And he did it. He won a silver and a bronze medal at nationals when he was in sixth grade.”
By eighth grade, Father Patrick said he started teaching the sport and when he was in high school, he was at the studio at least five days a week teaching, coaching and competing. He achieved a third degree black belt.
Father Patrick spent a year at the University of Dayton before he decided to enter Borromeo Seminary and begin formation for the priesthood. He said he enjoyed Ultimate Frisbee at the seminary, as well as golf, tennis, ping pong and racquetball.
“One of my most humbling moments was when Father Mark Riley (pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Cleveland) smoked me in racquetball. He really surprised me. I thought I’d have to take it easy on him,” he said laughing.
Rick said he played baseball, football and tennis, and got into sailing later. “The whole family does a lot of boating on Lake Erie.”
The Schultzes also enjoy traveling to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Naples, Florida, for vacations. They relax, play lots of tennis and golf, head to the beach and pool and then spend time grilling.
“The grill is always on during the summer,” said Dick.
“We like to cook burgers, brats, chicken breasts and corn on the cob,” Rick said. “We love the corn from Szalay’s (a popular sweet corn farm in Peninsula) – the yellow and white corn. There’s nothing like an all-American cookout.”
“And you have to have onions,” said Father Patrick.
“And watermelon,” added Dick.
He recalled one time when Father Patrick was attending Dayton and the family was vacationing in Naples.
“Patrick asked me to go for a walk. That’s when he told me he was leaving Dayton and going into the seminary. I was a little surprised at first,” Dick admitted. However, he said his late wife, Norine, might have been the one to nudge him towards the priesthood.
“When Patrick was in about fifth grade she said, ‘I have six grandchildren and no altar boys. I want you to be one.’ And he did. She was a convert and was very religious and active at St. Mary’s,” Dick said.
“He was a good altar boy. He held the cross up high,” Rick said. “Not like me. I only did it a couple of times.”
“I used to be so scared,” Father Patrick said. “I never knew when to bring up the book.”
But he admitted his faith was growing as he matured, attended Hudson High School and spent a year at Dayton studying art before deciding to enter the seminary. “Art was wonderful as a hobby, but studying it kind of crushed the creativity. It wasn’t as much fun anymore.”
Dick said his grandson was very talented, recalling that he got involved in theatrical productions in school, snagging the lead role of Aladdin in his first play as a third-grader.
“And in his second play, guess what?” Rick asked. “He played Peter Pan in ‘Peter Pan.’”
Father Patrick said he also got called back twice for the lead role of The Beast in “Beauty and the Beast” at Hudson High School. “But I was cast as the baker.”
He left his mark at Hudson High School in the form of a mural that still hangs on the wall.
“I always take a look at it when I go to basketball games,” Dick said.
Magic shows were another thing Father Patrick dabbled in as a child. “My wife and I had to go and watch the shows in the family room,” Dick said, laughing.
They also enjoyed a laugh about how Father Patrick disliked tomatoes, which Dick grows in his garden and gives away to friends.
“It took going to Rome to get me to like tomatoes,” Father Patrick said.
He spent the 2010 fall semester in Rome and his family went to visit – dad, mom, grandfather and brother – for about a week. While there, he shared a small apartment with three other Cleveland seminarians. “We did a lot of cooking in that tiny kitchen,” he said. “Bobby McWilliams (who was ordained as a priest this month) is a good cook.”
“That was a great trip,” Rick recalled. “Scott said he didn’t want to do only ‘Church stuff’ while we were there, but he ended up doing a lot of it. I think it helped open his eyes and deepen his faith.”
The Schultzes attended two papal Masses and brought back rosaries that had been placed on the tomb of St. Pope John Paul II.
“Patrick’s journey to the priesthood pulled us all closer to the Church,” Rick said. “That first day he went to the seminary, we were questioning why we were there and why he was there,” he said, before all the pieces began fitting together.
“Patrick gave me strength, especially when my wife died 10 years ago,” Dick said.
“I think my cousins think it’s pretty cool to have a priest in the family,” Father Patrick said, adding he will celebrate his cousin’s wedding in October.
“We feel so proud when he’s on the altar,” Dick said.