Encountering Christ Together

Our Priests

 uznu1v8fvvkpl2wdrlwpr1x3yql.pngI am pleased to have been appointed Pastor here at the Heart of Jesus Area Faith Community parishes.  After thirty two years of priestly ministry here in the Diocese of New Ulm I am fortunate to be returning to my hometown and parish here in Olivia and Renville County.   I was born at the Renville County Hospital in Olivia on November 21, 1956, the 9th of 11 children. I was baptized, received my first communion and confirmation and ordained to the priesthood here at the Church of St. Aloysius of Olivia.

I Graduated from Olivia Public High School in 1974, worked at Dick & Jerry’s Red Owl Store before attending St. John Vianney College Seminary at the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN from 1979 -1982, graduating with a BA in Communications.. I attended St. John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, MN.  1982-1986 receiving a Masters of Divinity Degree. I was ordained a priest on June 7, 1986.

My Pastoral  assignments have included:

  • Working  for the diocesan Youth Ministry Camp during the  summers of 1980, 81, 82, 84, prior to ordination.
  • Parochial Vicar the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Marshall 1986-1989
  • Pastor of Church of Japanese Martyrs, Leavenworth  1989-1996
  • Pastor of Church of St Paul, Comfrey, 1990 to 1996
  • Pastor of Church of St. Mary, Willmar  1996 to 2007
  • Pastor of the Shepherd of Souls Area Faith Community
  • Pastor -Church of St Philip Litchfield 2007 to 2018
  • Pastor Church of St. John, Darwin, 20012 to 2018
  • Pastor Church of St. Gertrude, Forest City 2012 to 2018
  • Pastor of Church of Our Lady,  Manannah, 2013 to 2018

Along with my pastoral assignments I have also been privileged to serve as the Diocesan Director of Vocations from   1989 – 1996, Episcopal Vicar, for regions 4 & 5 from 2005 -2007, a member of the Bishop’s Executive Cabinet from 2005 -2007.  I have served on the the Diocesan Priest Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council, College of Consultors, Diocesan Priest Personnel Board and Diocesan Hispanic Ministry Committee.

I enjoy being a priest and serving the Church to the best of my abilities. I am grateful to my family, friends and the communities I have and presently serve for their prayers and support.


Fr. George Schmit, Senior Associatevyy59q51t3jqw4s85oakm15idxl.JPG

It was on February 10,1942 that I was born to George Vincent and Catherine Rose (Berg) Schmit.  I am the oldest of seven children. I grew up in Eden Valley, MN and attended Eden Valley Public Grade School, Assumption Grade School, Nazareth Hall in St. Paul, and St. Paul Seminary for my education.  On March 10, 1968 I was ordained a priest for the Diocese of New Ulm by Bishop Alphonse Schladweiler at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Winsted, MN.

As a priest I have served the parishes of Watkins (2), Sleepy Eye, St. George (West Newton Township), Wanda, New Ulm, Searles, Bird Island, and Hector.  I also have served as the director of the Office of Vocations, Coordinator of the Catholic High Schools and Vicar General for the diocese and taught high school religion at St. Mary’s High School in Sleepy Eye.

Presently, I am a senior associate for the parishes in the Heart of Jesus Area Faith Community and the chairperson of the Diocesan Building Committee.  In my free time I like to golf, read, water ski, put together jig saw puzzles and do Sudoku. God has certainly blessed me in my priesthood. 

Fr. Zachary Peterson, Senior Associate

I was born and raised in Marshall, the oldest of four children.  I attended Holy Redeemer School from K-8th grade.  After graduation from Marshall High School I attended SMSU and earned a degree in Elementary Education.  After teaching in Echo at the Charter School for a year and a half, I entered seminary for the Diocese of New Ulm.  I spent two years in Fargo at the now-closed Cardinal Muench Seminary, and four years at the Saint Meinrad School of Theology.  I was ordained in 2011, and this is my fifth assignment.  I am looking forward to not moving again for a while.
    With my background in education, I look forward to being able to be present to the St. Mary's School community, and I encourage each family to enroll their children there.
    When you see me out-and-about, please stop and introduce yourself.  It will take a while for me to get everyone's names down, so thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
    Thank you especially to the crew who helped me move in, and thank you for the welcome I have received thus far.
~Fr. Zach
(p.s. I don't eat sweets, so please don't make any for me )