Meet the Chaplain: Monsignor Joseph Schaedel – Indianapolis Chapter
Former vocations director, teacher, and radio D.J. poised to shepherd Rome pilgrims
Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, 70, the chaplain of Legatus’ Indianapolis Chapter, will serve as the chaplain for Legatus’ Rome Pilgrimage in October. Monsignor Schaedel has been ordained for 36 years, is a former vocations director and archdiocesan vicar general, and is the current pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.
How did you discern your vocation?
By the time I had turned 30, and had not decided on any kind of permanent career, I asked a couple of close friends what they thought about my job quandry. Both of them independently asked, “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?” Like any Catholic boy, I had, but I kept putting it out of my mind. Once the two of them said that independently, I could not get it off my mind. That happened in April. To make a long story short, by the end of August I was in the seminary.
What were you doing at the time?
Two things. I was teaching. I was a principal in a Catholic school. I was also a disc jockey on the radio. After I was ordained, my dad said he liked me better when I was on the radio because then he could turn me off. But seriously, if I hadn’t gone into seminary, I probably would have stayed with teaching. I enjoyed teaching.
How did you come to be acquainted with Legatus?
The archbishop appointed me as chaplain in October 1994 when the previous chaplain was leaving.
Have you enjoyed your long tenure as a Legatus chaplain?
I’ve enjoyed it very much. I’ve met some wonderful people. I’ve had the opportunity to see many of these business leaders really grow in their faith and their understanding of their faith. Over 24 years, I’ve been with some Legatus families at critical times. Some of them were sad times during a critical illness, and some were happy times, a baptism of a child or a wedding.
What will the itinerary look like for the Rome pilgrimage?
We’ll be in Rome the whole time. We won’t be changing hotels. In addition to visiting the Vatican, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, we’ll be going out to surrounding places. The tour guide we’ll have is art historian Dr. Elizabeth Lev. She really is wonderful. The museums and Sistine Chapel are going to be private tours, after-hours. We’re also going to visit the barracks of the Swiss Guard, which I’ve never visited before. And I think during the first day or two, we’re going to have a lesson on how to make pizza, Italian-style.
What will your role be as the pilgrimage chaplain?
My main role would be to celebrate Mass for the group everyday, maybe do some explanations of the spiritual significance of the various churches and chapels that we’ll visit. While traveling on the bus, we’ll say the rosary together. My main role is the spiritual side of it. I’ve been a chaplain on pilgrimages before, but this will be my first time for a Legatus pilgrimage.
How can a pilgrimage be helpful to a couple’s faith life and enhance their understandings of Church teachings?
I always tell people a pilgrimage is essentially a retreat on wheels. A retreat is when we step back and look at our relationship with God. We step out of our ordinary circumstances, go on retreat, reflect on our relationship with God and His Church, take extra time to pray and reflect. That’s what a pilgrimage is.
Who are some of your spiritual role models?
My favorite saint is St. Joseph. Also there was my late archbishop, Daniel M. Buechlein, who was a Benedictine monk, who died in January. He was my rector in the seminary. When he became archbishop of Indianapolis, he established the Legatus chapter here. He was a great role model and mentor for me, especially his prayerfulness. He always emphasized when we were seminarians and to all the priests that our primary job was to pray, to pray for our people and pray for ourselves.