From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Joe Schmitz is diocese’s new Scouting chairperson

by Father Terence Tully, for the Inland Register

(From the Oct. 25, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

New chairperson of our Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting is an experienced Scout leader, a family man, parishioner and acolyte at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, a Certified Public Accountant who tracks and guides many business firms in their financial endeavors, appointed to be DCCS chair by Bishop William Skylstad, and well qualified to lead our committee.

This new diocesan official is Joseph L. Schmitz. I have interviewed him as a way to introduce him to Inland Register readers, especially those who are Boy Scouts, adult leaders, or parents at any level of Scouting.

The Big Sky country of Western Montana is where Joe Schmitz was born and raised. He studied at the University of Montana and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with emphasis in accounting. I think all of us on our Scouting committee need to be held accountable, and I think his expertise extends beyond financial accountability.

When I asked about committee goals he has in mind for the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting he spoke of making the committee complete — filling vacant positions, and enlarging the committee to include more dedicated Scouters. He is pleased with the programs we have but wants to add new ones. Especially he wants more Scout units chartered to parishes or to Knights of Columbus Councils. At present most of our Scouts are not in Catholic units and it is hard to estimate how many Catholic youth we have in Scouting.

I asked him: Why should the Catholic Church promote and sponsor Scouting at all?

Joe answered: “Scouting units are a resource we use to reach and help our youth. The ideals and principles of Scouting indicate the importance of spiritual welfare of each youth who enters Scouting.”

Joe sees a parallel between the Catholic youth apostolate and Scouting. Both operate “with, to, by, and for youth.”

As Scout chaplain I would like to comment that the spirituality of Scouting can go unnoticed by Scouts and Scouters, and it is part of our committee’s burden to proclaim duty to God, reverence toward God, and duty to neighbor as expressed in the Scout Oath, Law, slogan, and motto.

Family is of great help

Joe Schmitz showed in the interview that his wife and family have helped him be ready as our committee chair person. His wife, Joanna, is a strong supporter of Scouting, and has worked as a volunteer in many organizations, including one that is international. She and Joe are also partners in their accounting firm.

Joe’s son, Jonathan, now a sophomore at Gonzaga Prep, has reached Eagle rank in Scouting and has done extra merit badges and activities by which he obtained the Gold Palm to go with his Eagle badge. On the spiritual side he earned the Light of Christ and Ad Altare Dei religious emblems. He also did the St. George Trek, a 50-miler out of Philmont Scout Ranch, a trek sponsored by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which adds spiritual formation and leadership training the Scout can use in leading his parish youth.

Joe’s daughter, Angela, is a professional soccer goalkeeper and a high school soccer coach, after graduating from Gonzaga Prep and the University of Portland as an All-American.

Benjamin, a son and Gonzaga Prep graduate, is now on a management team in Tigard, Ore.

Joe’s background in Scouting includes membership as a child in Cub Scouting and as an adult many leadership roles: Den Leader, Pack Committee member and chairman, merit badge counselor, assistant Scoutmaster, troop committee member, adult leader on troop hikes and campouts, weeks at summer camp, trainer of Junior Leaders, high adventurer on trek in North Cascades, and adult trained in Scoutmaster Fundamentals.

Scouting in the Catholic Church — training course

The strongest preparation for the position as chair person was the training course provided by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.

This was “Scouting in the Catholic Church” offered in July at Philmont Scout Ranch, a course which Joe Schmitz took. It included all phases of committee work involving spirituality for Catholic Youth in Scouting, and it brought together chair persons from many dioceses to create a bond of fellowship among them, and with lay persons and priests, officers of the national committee, who taught the course. The location was also outstanding, near Cimarron, N.M., not far from the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rockies and the trails of high adventure. Joe found friendship and inspiration in all this and said he is still is in touch with these Scouter friends.

E-mail address

As I finished writing this column, Joe notified me that he has set up an e-mail address by which Scouts and Scouters can communicate with the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. That address:

Coming events

Bishop’s Recognition Day, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002, 2 p.m. Bishop Skylstad will confer religious emblems on Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire Boys and Girls.


For information on the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and its activities, contact Father Terence Tully, diocesan Scout chaplain, 221 E. Rockwood Blvd., Apt. 308, Spokane, WA 99202-1200, phone (509) 458-7674; or Joe Schmitz, chairperson of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, 400 S. Jefferson, Suite 112, Spokane, WA 99204; (509) 747-7499. Click here for the National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s web site!

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