“We have been truly blessed to have Father Michael serve as our campus chaplain. His love of our students is evident, and he unfailingly participates in our masses, prayer services, retreats, and award ceremonies. He works very hard to connect his message to our students.” –Principal, Paul Kelly ’83
In honor of Holy Week, De La Salle believed that it would be most appropriate to spotlight our campus chaplain, Father Michael Schneller. Father Michael graciously wrote a brief biography for us. Happy Easter, Cavaliers.
I am the oldest of six children born in New Orleans. I attended St. Francis Xavier Elementary School, Metairie, and graduated from St. Aloysius High School, New Orleans. During those years, I began discerning the call to the priesthood when I was accepted as a seminarian at St. Joseph Seminary College. I completed my priestly formation at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans where I received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees. I was ordained on June 3, 1972, by the late Archbishop Hannan at St. Louis Cathedral.
After my ordination, I served as a parochial vicar at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, now Transfiguration of The Lord, in New Orleans, and then at St. Joseph in Gretna, and Immaculate Heart of Mary, New Orleans. In 1981 Archbishop Hannan appointed me to my first pastorate at St. Anselm in Madisonville. In the following years, I have served as pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord in New Orleans East, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belle Chasse, St. Ann Church and National Shrine in Metairie, Our Lady of the Lake in Mandeville and presently serving as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Uptown New Orleans since 2013. I love walking through this Uptown neighborhood and cycling around Audubon Park and on the levee of the Mississippi River.
Because of the proximity of the De La Salle High School campus, Archbishop Aymond asked me to serve as chaplain at De La Salle. I have had the privilege to serve in various ministries, organizations, and committees these past forty-five years. I have always enjoyed a ministerial love affair with the folks who live in the parishes of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Serving as a high school chaplain is not a new ministry for me. However, being a full-time pastor and the only priest in the parish limits my participation to a priestly presence at school liturgies, retreats, and selected school events. Participating in these events has provided me an opportunity to learn about the five core principles of a Lasallian education. The Cavalier student body is a truly authentic reflection of the social, ethnic, cultural and religious complexion of the City of New Orleans. I find this both a challenge and a gift. Being with these young students energizes my priestly ministry.
Looking Toward Easter: On the evening of Holy Thursday, Lent ends and the “Triduum” (meaning a space of three days) begins. On all high festival days, the church counts a day in the same way as the Jewish people count days and festivals; that is, from sundown to sundown. Thus, the Triduum consists of three twenty-four-hour periods that stretch over four calendars days.
I find it interesting that at Christmas most stores and restaurants close for the day, with only essential services remaining open. At Easter, however, few stores and other retail establishments close down. Could it be that it is easier to believe in and celebrate the birth of a baby than it is to believe in and celebrate risen Life? Like the early disciples, we must celebrate Jesus’ love for all humanity, but also celebrate our call to love as Jesus did. Who helps you to see and believe in the risen Jesus? The very goodness of our lives will bring others to see and believe and to see and love. Happy Easter!