The cause for beatification of murdered Passionist missionary, Fr. Carl Schmitz, CP, was begun in the Philippines on April 26, 2004, the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
A member of Holy Cross Province, Fr. Carl grew up on the northwest side of Chicago. He was a dedicated missionary who served in the United States and in the Passionist missions in China, Japan, and the Philippines. He was living among a group of B’laan tribal people on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines when a local man with suspected paramilitary ties gunned him down on the steps of his mission on April 7, 1988.
Fr. Carl’s earliest overseas effort was in China, an assignment that was cut short by the Communist takeover in 1949. Shortly thereafter, he was one of the first Passionists to serve in ministry in post-war Japan, eventually becoming fluent in Japanese. After serving in Japan for 20 years, Fr. Carl returned to missionary work on a more grass roots level. In 1977, at the age of 60, he asked to be stationed in the rugged mountains of South Cotabato on the island of Mindanao among the ancient B’laan tribal people.
Working with other missionaries, Fr. Carl helped to provide food and medicine to thousands of displaced B’laans who were struggling to survive and maintain their culture in the face of an encroaching modern world. He built schools, helped to establish educational programs, and offered spiritual support to the local population. He was widely known as a priest of great kindness and sincere concern, and as a courageous defender of the B’laans’ right to their lands and way of life.