Former longest-serving priest in the archdiocese remembered as radiating holiness

Father Hugh Schwartz, once the longest-serving priest in the Archdiocese of Omaha, died last week after a brief illness. He was just seven days shy of turning 93.

A huge Creighton University sports fan, Father Schwartz closely followed the school’s basketball and volleyball teams.

Father Schwartz spent the last years of his life living at the St. John Vianney Residence in Omaha. During that time, he served as a spiritual director to some of his fellow priests who also lived there.

One of those priests was Father Michael Fitzpatrick. Although Father Fitzpatrick and Father Schwartz were priests in the archdiocese for years, they only got to know one another about seven years ago when Father Schwartz moved into Saint John Vianney. Once the two men met, they became fast friends, eating dinner together every evening.

According to Father Fitzpatrick, Father Schwartz was an extremely holy man who was well-liked by everyone he met. He said Father Schwartz never had anything negative to say about anyone and was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone he met.

“Every day, he made a visit to the Blessed Sacrament,” Father Fitzpatrick said. “I knew exactly where you could find him every day around noon – in the chapel with the Blessed Sacrament. That was just part of his normal daily routine. Holiness just radiated from him. He was just such a nice guy.”

A funeral Mass was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 25 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Elkhorn, with Father Gary Ostrander delivering the homily. Burial was to follow at Calvary Cemetery in Omaha.

Father Schwartz was born in Evanston, Wyoming, on Jan. 27, 1930. His family later moved to Omaha, where he attended the former Cathedral High School. He attended Conception Seminary in Missouri and Theological College in Washington, D.C. He was ordained in 1956.

Father Schwartz served as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk (1956-62) and St. Mary Parish in Omaha (1962-64). He was the pastor of St. William in Niobrara (1964-66), St. Mary in Leigh (1966-71), St. Boniface in Elgin (1966-71), St. Wenceslaus in Dodge (1971-76), St. Charles in North Bend (1976-86) and St. Francis Borgia in Blair (1986-92). He retired in 2000.

Father Schwartz is survived by his nieces, nephews, friends and brother priests. Memorials are suggested to the Archdiocese of Omaha Priest Retirement Fund.

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